Yiwu drives global economic and trade prosperity
Chen Yanzhen, a second-generation entrepreneur from Yiwu, often hailed as the world's leading small commodities market in east China's Zhejiang Province, vividly recalls how her mother stepped into the business world with a humble beginning.
"My mother was one of the first traders in Yiwu. She peddled bicycle accessories using a carrying pole on the roadside," said Chen, 41.
Business in Yiwu, which was once an impoverished county lacking significant natural resources or strategic advantages, originated with a barter system. Locals traded their homegrown brown sugar for chicken feathers, which were transformed into feather dusters.
This trade eventually evolved into an organic market for small commodities, catapulting Yiwu into the national spotlight and earning it widespread recognition.
Today, this place offers nearly 2.1 million varieties of goods that are shipped to nearly every corner of the world. The sales volume in the city has even become a bellwether for global economic trends.
Every year more than 560,000 overseas buyers visit Yiwu, and the city also hosts over 15,000 merchants from more than 100 countries and regions.
Data from Yiwu Customs show that from January to July this year, the total value of Yiwu's imports and exports reached 268.17 billion yuan (about 37.2 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 33.8 percent from the same period last year.
From a small hardware store to a globally recognized brand with annual sales surpassing 100 million yuan, Chen has witnessed the remarkable transformation of Yiwu driven by continuous innovation.
Today, livestreaming and e-commerce have become major tools for fostering growth and gaining exposure, according to Rosemberg Cadena, who hails from Bogota in Colombia. "China is a paradise for dreamers."
He first arrived in Yiwu over a decade ago. From initially knowing only a few Chinese words to developing a deep love for Chinese culture, Cadena has found himself completely intertwined with China.
"China is a very stable country with tremendous opportunities. You will succeed as long as you work hard and be patient," said Cadena, adding that he was able to ride the wave of China's digital economy and achieved great success.
Ozcan Sezer, from Türkiye, also placed his bet on the promising future of the Chinese economy. He came to China to start a business 14 years ago, and today, he owns a six-story commercial building, and his Turkish restaurant in Yiwu has tripled in size compared to just two years ago.
"Investing and doing business in China was the best decision I ever made," said the ambitious man who aims to open 1,000 restaurants and stores in China.
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