Business / Gadgets

Wholesale city riding wave of e-commerce

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-07 10:38

The biggest market for small commodities in eastern China is going online for business expansion, reports Meng Jing in Yiwu, Zhejiang

If China is the world's factory, then Yiwu, about three hours' drive from Shanghai, is its wholesale market. Even those who have never heard of Yiwu might own a few items - handbags, shoes, some accessories - from there.

The small city in East China's Zhejiang province is home to China Commodities City, a sprawling place with as many as 75,000 vendors, which has been named by the United Nations, the World Bank and others as the " largest small commodity wholesale market" in the world.

Wholesale city riding wave of e-commerce
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Wholesale city riding wave of e-commerce 
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Like many other cities in eastern China whose economies are highly dependent on exports, the China Commodities City, with about 70 percent of its 68 billion yuan ($10.91 billion) in sales coming from abroad last year, has been hit by rising costs and dwindling overseas demand.

Moreover, the brickandmortar market, which is made up of five malls with a total area of 5.5 million square meters, has been challenged by the rapid rise of e-commerce players.

But instead of looking at its online rivals as a threat, China Commodities City has decided to turn the situation into an opportunity to upgrade its business model and strengthen Yiwu's leading position as a trade city in China.

In midApril, the market - which launched its e-commerce site, yiwugou, in October 2012 to help vendors sell their products inside China - stepped up to expand its e-commerce territory to countries outside China.

The market inked deals to launch websites to facilitate trade between Yiwu and importers in 11 other countries: Australia, Spain, Poland, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Germany, the United States, Malaysia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"By setting up the e-commerce websites in the 11 countries, we are going to save importers there a lot of time and money because they will no longer need to come to Yiwu to check the latest products and place orders in person," said Wang Jianjun, chief executive officer of Yiwu China Commodities City Information Technology Co Ltd, the e-commerce arm of China Commodities City.

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