Yiwu City, China. 2016.
Yiwu is a city located 350 kilometers west of Shanghai. It has a population of one million and a half inhabitants; Despite being a small town according to the Chinese standard, Yiwu is the largest small commodities market in the world. It is the place where the retailers from all over the world go to refuel. It is the starting point of 80% of Christmas decorations and 60% of children’s toys. In the pre-Christmas period over 1000 containers a day depart from the city filled with goods. There are items that you can find at every latitude of the planet: the toothpicks and tennis rackets, candles that play happy birthday, hooves and fresheners for cars, dolls and African sculptures.
The city is dominated by a series of covered markets, each with the size of a stadium, occupied by thousands of stalls. Many of them sell the same merchandise. The city authorities claim that there are 50 thousand stalls selling more than 300,000 kinds of products. Whole shops are dedicated to the sale of pacifiers for children, halloween witches, of purses. A whole market is dedicated to socks. In the town they are packed 3 billion pairs of socks a year. If you wanted to buy a belt there are millions of belts. There is the bras path, that for zippers, arti ficial flowers, the calendars, the Christmas decorations, to name a few.
Permanently residing in the city about 8,000 foreign buyers who scour relentlessly in search of products to be shipped. The Middle- Eastern buyers are so many that arose an Arab neighborhood. Santa Claus comes here to buy gifts. In 2016 it was completed a railway line linking Madrid with Yiwu. About 10000km. 741km more than the Trans-Siberian. It takes 21 days. While by boat it takes 6 weeks and costs are significantly higher than by train.