Commodities from Yiwu reach big markets as Paris Olympics nears

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As the Paris Olympics approaches, Yiwu city, known as the “world’s supermarket” in east China’s Zhejiang province, has received a large number of orders related to the Games.

The Yiwu International Trade Market in Yiwu city is surrounded by a strong Olympic vibe, with a wide range of sporting goods and Olympic merchandise available for purchase.

Yiwu Customs records show that the export value of sporting equipment and goods in Yiwu reached 4.1 billion yuan ($563.7 million) in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 44.4 percent. The export value of sporting goods to France grew significantly.

The city has seized on business opportunities brought by major international sports events, from the FIFA World Cup to the UEFA European Championship, and the Olympics. It has earned a solid reputation, opened up a vast market, and showcased the vitality of China’s development.

Stepping into the Yiwu International Trade Market, silicone wristbands with the Paris Olympics logowere displayed in front of a shop. “This wristband is produced by the factory with official authorization,” said a merchant named Lin Daolai.

Last October, his company won the bid and received an order to produce 1 million Olympic wristbands. After several months of production, the first batch of wristbands has arrived in Paris, and the second batch has already been shipped. “These 1 million Olympic wristbands have increased our annual sales by 30 percent,” said Lin.

Since last year, major merchants in the Yiwu International Trade Market have received a large number of Olympics-related orders. Wang Qiang, president of the Yiwu Sports and Fitness Supplies Industry Association, said that the association quickly prepared for the Paris Olympics by gathering companies and merchants to discuss marketing strategies and improve the supply chain system.

“In the first quarter, the overall sales of the industry increased by 30 to 35 percent compared to the same period last year. Yiwu is capable of providing abundant supplies for the Paris Olympics, as orders continue to pour in,” said Wang.

The booming sports economy has injected new impetus into Yiwu’s development. In addition to the Paris Olympics, merchants also see opportunities in the UEFA European Championship and the Copa America this summer.

Wen Congjian, a local jersey supplier, began preparations early for the two events. “This year, our turnover has increased by around 30 percent thanks to these sports events,” Wen said.

After supplying multiple major international sports events, Yiwu has gained the favor of international buyers. The Yiwu International Trade Market, with its 75,000 business booths and over 2.1 million types of products in 26 categories, is now exporting to more than 230 countries and regions worldwide.

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup sparked a sales frenzy among merchants in Yiwu. “We sold nearly 2 million jerseys in 2022, doubling our revenue from the previous year,” said Wen. 

The production and sales of merchandise like vuvuzela horns and keychains also saw significant growth. To ensure smooth delivery, Yiwu opened a dedicated shipping route for FIFA, allowing products to reach Qatar’s Hamad Port in just over 20 days. Products made in Yiwu were estimated to account for about 70 percent of merchandise sales during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Through the experience gained from multiple sports events, many merchants in Yiwu are now adept at keeping up with the trends and responding to market demands.

Merchant Hui Ping’s shop specializes in sports event merchandise. Recently, there have been many customers coming to her shop to buy products, and a glow stick used for cheering has been particularly popular. The glow stick is designed to provide continuous illumination for up to 10 hours, ensuring that it fully meets the spectators’ needs for watching the game.

To stay ahead in the market, merchants in Yiwu are placing greater emphasis on product innovation, offering novel designs and exceptional quality. The booming development of manufacturing in China has provided strong support for Yiwu and consolidated the city’s position in the global supply chain.

Nowadays, Yiwu is undergoing a rapid market transformation, aiming to enhance the technological content and added value of its products through innovation. With the rise of cross-border e-commerce, local businesses are shifting their focus from a production-centric approach to actively seeking market opportunities, leading to a gradual transition to on-demand production and improved efficiency.

These innovations represent the transformation and upgrading of Yiwu’s manufacturing and trade model in the new era.

“In recent years, the number of shops selling sporting goods in the Yiwu International Trade Market has been steadily increasing, and the share of Yiwu sporting goods is continuously growing in the global market,” said Wang. “We are confident that through continuous innovation, we will sell more high-quality products to the world.”



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