By CCTV reporter Ying Yiyuan
Eastern Chinese city Yiwu is known for its small commodities market, which attracted some 440,000 oversea buyers last year. It has contributed to a substantial part of China’s rising export over the past decade. However, the fast expanding internet business trend, has raised questions on how this wholesale market will adapt.
Chen Shufang has been selling toys in Yiwu market for 20 years, 90% of her products are sold abroad. Her shop is located in one of the prime locations, but she finds fewer clients are visiting the shop this year.
Chen said, “Maybe it’s because of the financial crisis, the number of foreigners here has decreased, so has my orders. Usually, our business is thriving in autumn.”
Talking about the explosion of internet businesses, she says she prefers making physical sales.
Chen said, “I don’t know how to work internet shops, and I wouldn’t have time to manage it.”
But there are others more willing to venture into new territory. Shao Baolin bought this factory land near Yiwu market in 2008, when many companies were slowing down because of the financial crisis. She attributes the company’s fast growth to the internet.
Shao Baolin, R&D Director of Dragon Kingcase Co., Ltd., said, “I started making internet sales in 2003, and it is very useful. The internet brings us clients, and Yiwu market is our product show room.”
More shop owners in Yiwu have started promoting themselves online. Some say the future of Yiwu market lies in combining E-commerce with physical stores.
Prof. Shi Jinchuan, Zhejiang Unversity, said, “E-commerce will attract increasing number of buyers, but the real market will not disappear, it will be the place for showcasing.”
Over 400,000 oversea buyers come to Yiwu every year, over 10,000 of whom stay locally. Having physical stores along with e-commerce will boost the competitiveness of Yiwu, and bring buyers better services.
Mondo Kleisoura, Greek Jewellery buyer, said, “I can search products online, and I can see products here myself.”
The Yiwu market is the biggest small commodity wholesale market in the world. The future of Yiwu market highly depends on how it will adapt to the changing business environment.