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Whenever you talk about sourcing suppliers or products in China, Guangzhou and Shenzhen will first come to most people’s minds. For importers who do not have a lot of experience trading in China, it is highly likely they have never heard of a town known as Yiwu – the world’s largest wholesale center, and also the location of our company.

A search on Google about Yiwu yields very few results. Among them is a report by BBC titled “Yiwu: The Chinese City Where Chirstmas is Made and Sold” which tells some interesting facts about the city.

There are some articles that are misleading because they have incorrect information. These articles are written by foreigners who know very little or nothing about Yiwu, usually saying all products here are worst quality, only making sense for small wholesale business.

In this article, you will get real information about Yiwu from several different aspects. If you want to learn about Yiwu, you plan to visit the place for business, or want to learn more about knowledge of trading in China, then you will find this article quite practical.

 

1. The World’s Largest Wholesale Market

Yiwu international Trade Market is the largest wholesale market in the world. Its length is 7 km. Here you will find a wide array of products among them hardware and jewelry. It attracts more than 500,000 foreign procurers who come here every year to develop their business. Yiwu also has over 14,000 foreign businessmen from more than 100 different countries who reside here.

There are more than 70, 000 booths in this market. Each booth specially exhibits a product of some kind, a factor which makes Yiwu more of a huge fair instead of a market. What distinguishes it from all the other open fairs is that Yiwu market is open all year around except during the Spring Festival

Yiwu wholesale market

A small part inside the market

2. Are All the Booths Opened by Manufacturers?

Yiwu wholesale market

A foreign customer is visiting a flag booth

Most booths are owned by individual business, some others owned by trading companies, and they got lots factories supply them in long term. If you do not want to buy large quantities, in some cases you may get better price from them than buying from factory.

There are some booths owned by factories. These are based in Yiwu and nearby cities. Some others are based in Fujian, Guangdong and other provinces. The scales of these factories ranges between 10 and 1,000 staffs.

If you visit Yiwu for the first time ever, or do not have much information and experience on import, you will find it challenging trying to distinguish whether these are individual businesses, small workshops, or large-scale factories. Although most booths claim to be manufacturers, but do not trust them.

3. What Will You Find in Yiwu Market?

Yiwu wholesale market

A clock booth’s owner is waiting for customer

Many people say that you can find virtually anything you need in Yiwu market. However, this is not true. Small products that are daily used such as toys and Christmas are mostly showed here. Yiwu is not smart choice if you want to purchase fashion cloth, foodstuff and large machinery. These can be sourced from Guangzhou or other Chinese cities that have relevant industrial areas. (In our next blog we will introduce the leading industrial areas in China).

 

4. Are Yiwu Products of Poor Quality as Alleged?

Some commentators on the Internet allege that Yiwu products are all of poor quality, thus cannot be exported to the United States. This is not true because of the following two reasons:

  1. Yiwu product does not mean “Made in Yiwu”. As mentioned earlier, Chinese products have industrial area where they are manufactured. Many products sold in Yiwu are made in other leading production areas and they are just availed in Yiwu for sale.
  2. Among the top 3 exporting countries from Yiwu is the U.S. Many high quality products are exported from China in to the country every year. Yiwu also has some budget products which are targeted to developing countries, but it’s not true to say that all Yiwu products are not of good quality.

For example, most Christmas products are produced in Yiwu, but you will find suppliers as well as in Shenzhen and other areas. However, the Shenzhen supplier may play a dirty trick by not telling you the products are manufactured in Yiwu, or even claim that what they sell is better than which made in Yiwu.

 

5. Is Yiwu Wholesale Market only Suited to Small Businesses?

Yiwu wholesale market

Two foreigners are confirming order with the booth

Many articles on the Internet are telling that Yiwu market is only suitable for small businesses, and Shenzhen and other big cities are better for big orders. But the truth is that you won’t find market with MOQ that’s higher than that of markets in Yiwu. For those who want to buy one item from $1000 up to 2-3 containers, this is the best place to source them. It’s quite difficult to persuade the booth to sell one or two cartons for one item, as this quantity is too much less than their MOQ.

Usually, product in any market needs leading time. However, some of them tend to have spot goods such that you can purchase small quantity. But, there are two conditions which should consider before you buy spot goods.

  1. Spot goods cannot be changed. All the colors, logos and styles as well as packaging are the same as the samples that you see in the booth. If you want customized products, you have to buy large quantity.
  2. Because spot goods have already been manufactured, their standard or design is not the latest, thus it is not suited to fashion products.

 

6. How Does Yiwu Differ from Ningbo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou?

Ningbo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are all big coastal cities in China and have ports, a factor which gives them many advantages of export. This is the reason why most large international companies have set up their procurement or branch office in these cities. There also are various professional trading companies which offer better services.

Yiwu does not have a port and relies on the Ningbo port, which is 200km away. Meanwhile, Yiwu supplies very many goods to Ningbo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

You can’t find any other place like Yiwu wholesale market that gathers so many products in Ningbo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Ningbo does not have any market and its advantage is the port only. Shenzhen only has market for electronic products. Guangzhou is a popular market for jewelry, clothing and related items but these markets are in different places and sourcing from them is not easy. It is only during Canton Fair when suppliers congregate at one place in China.