Traders putting their city on the map through online platforms

By YUAN SHENGGAO (China Daily) Updated : 2020-10-29


Representatives attend the launch ceremony of an online platform initiated by the Yiwu-based Zhejiang China Commodities City on Oct 21. XIAO DA/CHINA DAILY

Yiwu, a city in Zhejiang province known for manufacturing and exporting small commodities, is being highlighted for its role in helping Chinese products gain worldwide exposure through digital sales channels.

The Yiwu-based Zhejiang China Commodities City, one of the world's largest small commodity markets, launched an online platform on Oct 21, a key step toward its digital transformation.

The website www.chinagoods.com relies on the resources of 75,000 physical stores in the Yiwu International Trade Market. The platform has attracted more than 50,000 market entities and over 500,000 registered buyers since it launched for testing in April.

The platform serves enterprises in the upstream industrial chain. It generally helps these export businesses improve their links with overseas and domestic buyers.

Zhang Dan, manager of a crafts shop at the market, said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, most traders opted to handle orders through online platforms such as Yiwu Gou and chinagoods.

"The platform digitalized the trading activities of the Yiwu market," said Zhao Wenge, chairman of Zhejiang China Commodities City Group. He added that it integrates multiple functions, including online display and transactions, intelligent warehousing and logistics, convenient customs clearance and global supply chain services.

Yiwu is home to more than 2 million micro-, small-and medium-sized firms, and sells commodities to about 200 countries and regions every year. It has been seeking new opportunities through digital transformation amid the pandemic.

The city recorded 200.15 billion yuan ($29.96 billion) in imports and exports between January and August, an increase of 4.4 percent year-on-year, official data from local customs authorities show.

Exports were valued at 192.51 billion yuan, an increase of 3.8 percent year-on-year, three percentage points higher than the national average.

From January to September, contracted foreign investment in Yiwu was registered at $368.73 million, a year-on-year increase of 34.16 percent. Actually utilized foreign investment in the city during the same period was valued $127.8 million, a year-on-year increase of 38.4 percent.

This year has been a milestone for Yiwu in its quest to open up to the outside world. In March, the Yiwu Comprehensive Bonded Zone was approved and established, accelerating the development of China's first digital comprehensive bonded zone.

In September, Yiwu became a part of the Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone, injecting new impetus into its foreign trade growth.

The city is working to attract buyers from around the world by setting up task forces, overseas liaison offices and by teaming up with international chambers of commerce.

In June, Yiwu signed a deal with ZTO Express (Hong Kong) to co-build a supply chain innovation center, which has attracted more than $700 million in investment.

So far, Yiwu has attracted more than 4,000 foreign-funded trade companies, more than any other city in Zhejiang.

"Yiwu is expected to explore more innovative mechanisms and regulations in the field of trade and help micro-, small-and medium-sized enterprises expand domestic and foreign markets, playing an active role in promoting dual-cycle development," said an official from Yiwu commerce bureau.