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Q: Have you ever been to YiWu in Zhejiang?

China’s YiWu: Business Models You’ve Never Even Heard of



The YiWu Commodities Market

A brief bit of background for context. YiWu is the world’s largest supermarket. YiWu is a small town (it’s actually a city with more than one million people, but in China that’s a small town) in Zhejiang Province, 45 minutes by high-speed rail from Shanghai. The surrounding area contains countless thousands of smallish (and some largish) factories producing vast amounts of small goods – hand and small electric tools, umbrellas, bags and luggage, toys, giftware, small appliances, kitchenware, small electronic items, adhesive tape. The products are mostly standard utilitarian items we generally refer to as commodities.

With this intense concentration of manufacturing clusters, YiWu has the largest commodity markets in the world. The largest wholesale factory market in YiWu, the International Trade Center, consists of eight 5-story buildings totaling about 5 million square meters and containing about 80,000 shops, each shop owned by one of the small area factories. It is so large that the aisles in each building have street names; maps are normally required for navigation. To save you the arithmetic, if you spend 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, with only 1 minute in each shop, you would need more than 8 months to visit all of them. And that’s only one market of about 20 in the city. Many markets specialise in a particular product: umbrellas, artificial flowers, stationery, toys, candles cosmetics, fashion jewellery, bags and leather products shoes, tissue, cloth, socks, lingerie . . . Typical markets would have 2,000 shops selling only belts or 10,000 shops selling small ceramic tea pots.

There is actually a bit more to this story. At the business school at the university in YiWu, a prerequisite for graduation is that all students must establish and successfully run their own business. These may be only online shops selling any manner of products, but they are all profitable. As well, local students are often sufficiently fluent in many languages to act as agents for the millions of foreign buyers who come to the city each year, helping them to navigate the system, act as translators, find satisfactory products, negotiate prices and terms. Some of these kids earn as much as US$100,000 in a year while still in school. We don’t see this at Harvard or Western, nor do we see student parking lots jammed with BMWs and Ferraris.

9 weeks 6 days ago in  Business & Jobs - China

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A: Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were loo
A:Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were looking for a church wedding. Chinese weddings are pretty grim IMO - you go to a barren govt dept with souless officials and navigate red tape so some guy can give you a red stamp and a marriage book. You get expensive pictures taken of you both posing in places you'd never go to in everyday life that is somehow supposed to represent your wedding, then a while later it's off to a restaurant where a game show host kind of guy makes sure it's as tacky as possible while the guests eat as fast as they can so they can leave as soon as they finish eating and gave you money. Hell, I'd go to Thailand or the Philippines and get married in Paradise.   -- Stiggs