Yiwu is famous in China as a commodities centre. The Yiwu market developed and managed by Zhejiang China Commodities City Group Co., Ltd. (Public, SHA:600415). Yiwu’s China Small-Commodity Market has for 6 consecutive years topped China’s 100 top open markets and was for successive years listed as “China’s civilized open market”. It has been named as the banner of China’s market economy and with a large variety of quality but cheaper commodities. There have been a significant increase in Arab traders since the September 11 attacks, as Middle Eastern businessmen found it difficult to travel to the United States due to visa restrictions. The Arab presence has fostered the rise of many mosques and Middle Eastern restaurants.
The GDP reached 52 billion yuan in 2009, an increase of 9% from 2008, and the per capita GDP reached 71,457 yuan (US$10,461). The per capita urban disposable income reached 30,841 yuan and rural pure income 12,899 yuan, increasing 7.4% and 8.5% respectively.
Its 4C-grade airport has over a dozen of air routes to cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shantou, Weifang and Shenzhen. The Zhejiang-Jiangxi Railway and Hangzhou-Jinhua Expressway passes through the city, making Yiwu an important local transportation hub. By train it is less than 3 hours from Shanghai.
“Yiwu, 300 kilometres away from Shanghai, is the largest market of petty commodity wholesales in the world where various foreign buyers go to place orders”, according to ‘Chinese Figures Astonishing the World’, joint report from the United Nations,the World Bank and Morgan Stanley. The city was ranked first among county-level cities In “the 2004 Most Favourite Chinese Cities of Domestic and Foreign Public in 2004”.
China Commodity City (CCC), the large wholesale market of Yiwu, was honored by the UN, the World Bank and Morgan Stanley amongst other world authorities in 2005 as the “largest small commodity wholesale market in the world”.
The counterfeiting industry has been a problem in Yiwu due to the thriving market. As noted by Eamonn Fingleton, the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance in 2008, “As documented by the author Tim Phillips in 2005… [t]he city of Yiwu … functions as a sort of ‘Wall Street’ for the counterfeiting industry, providing a vast marketplace where, Phillips states, 100,000 counterfeit products are openly traded and 2,000 metric tons of fakes change hands daily.”
According to Xinhua, more than 60% of Christmas trinkets worldwide in 2013 came from Yiwu.