Santa moves his home base from Guangzhou to Yiwu

A store selling Christmas decorations in Yiwu. (Photo/Xinhua)A store selling Christmas decorations in Yiwu. (Photo/Xinhua)

Shenzhen and Guangzhou have long been known as China’s production hubs, yet another city has been steadily gaining a worldwide reputation for bringing Christmas cheer to the world — Yiwu, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.

The manufacturing of Christmas ornaments has migrated from Guangzhou to Yiwu in recent years due to the joint impact of rising labor costs, material costs and a stronger yuan. The closure of Boto, which used to be one of the largest Christmas ornament manufacturers in Shenzhen, marked the beginning of the migration from the southeastern coast. The subsidiary used to ship as many as 9,000 containers of Christmas ornaments around the world during its peak season.

Yiwu has begun to glow silver and gold since it began absorbing many of these drifting manufacturers back in 2008. According to customs statistics, Yiwu shipped Christmas ornaments worth US$133 million for the first nine months of 2012, representing a 49.2% increase compared to the same period last year. By contrast, Guangzhou posted an 8.9% drop for the same period with shipping value totaling US$69 million.

In 2012, the Yiwu government estimated that there are around 750 Christmas ornament companies established in the area. More companies in the holiday business have either relocated or established production lines in Yiwu since 2009 — the year after the financial crisis reared its head in the US. The survey shows that about 100 such companies relocated from Guangzhou to Yiwu in 2009 alone.

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