A Complete Guide To The Yiwu Wholesale Market

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Conveniently located in the city of Yiwu in the center of the Zhejiang Provence of China, the Yiwu Wholesale Market is one of the leading centers of international trade and exports from China to the rest of the world. The Market is one of the world’s best sources for retailers and online markets to purchase high demand products at attractive prices. Serving tens of thousands of businesses every month, the Market has become one of the world’s leading centers for sourcing products that are in demand by consumers.

Founded in 1982, today the Yiwu Wholesale Market is composed of two market groups, the Yiwu International Trade Market and the Huangyuan Market(Clothing). Large in scope, the Market has around 70,000 shops covering four million square meters. Selling over 1.7 million different types of products at wholesale prices in over 4,200 categories covering sixteen industries, these shops export to over 215 countries around the world. An honored and well respected Chinese company, the Yiwu Wholesale Market has received many awards over the past decade including the following:

  • 2002 Value Quality, Honor Credibility Award from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China
  • Five-Star Civilized & Normative Market Award by the Zhejiang Industrial & Commercial Administration
  • 2006 Contract Abiding, Trustworthy Enterprise Award by the State Administration For Industrial & Commerce
  • 2006 Model Market For Credibility of Zhejiang Province Award by the Zhejiang Industrial & Commercial Administration

The Yiwu Wholesale Market offers a wide variety of product categories including housewares, decorations and crafts, jewelry, toys, floral, cosmetics, hardware, textiles, electronics and electric products, clothing and accessories, leather goods, shoes, sporting goods, linens, auto accessories, and much more. The shops open every day of the year except for the days celebrating Chinese New Year most sellers accept small quantity orders which is good for those just start their business. All prices in the shops are wholesale prices and most of the products are in stock at the factory and will ship within two weeks. Pricing and availability depend on quantities, special order considerations, and product quality.

Large in scope, many people wonder just how large the Yiwu Wholesale Market is. Difficult to imagine and impressive when you see it, the Market covers four million square meters, featuring many large complexes, buildings and halls. Just walking from one end of a building to the other takes one hour. With twelve corridors in each five-story building, simply walking past all of the shops in one building takes almost eight hours. Walking all of the buildings in the Market, with no stopping to shop, would take more than ten days. Visitors to the market either need to be highly selective and determined to visit only the most important shops to them and their business, or plan to spend several weeks exploring the market and discovering the most interesting shops.

Any and all products purchased at the Market can be easily shipped from China to destinations around the world via containers and the shipping facilities located in regional port cities. Purchases from any number of vendors can be consolidated into the same containers, and products for different customers in the same general location can be combined into single containers for more efficient shipping. The buying agents in Yiwu coordinate with wholesalers and shipping companies to ensure that the freight is received, consolidated and shipped on schedule.

Key Facts of Yiwu Wholesale Market

The Yiwu Wholesale Market is an amazing source of popular, highly functional, and unique products that retailers around the world desire for their stores or ecommerce websites. Before placing an order at the Market, there are a number of things to be aware of and prepared for. Following are some of the key facts and tips for being a successful buyer at the Yiwu Wholesale Market.

Scope And Size

  • The Yiwu Wholesale Market is gigantic. Whether shopping in person or online at the market, have a strategy or specific type of products in mind. Unless you enjoy simply shopping around randomly and becoming easily overwhelmed, have a game plan and stick to it.
  • Unlike Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Yiwu does not have a port in the city, relying primarily instead on the port of Ningbo some 200km away for shipping products around the world. With their local port Guangzhou and Shenzhen may offer simpler shipping logistics, the variety of products offered in those markets tend to be more focused on certain categories. At the Yiwu Wholesale Market a wider variety of products can be found.
  • The Yiwu Wholesale Market has a large variety of products across a wide range of categories. Most are small products, products that are used daily, or holiday and gift related products. There are few large sized products or industrial products available.
  • The Market caters to both large volume purchasers and small quantity buyers equally. In general, the tens of thousands of shops are friendly and welcoming to all buyers regardless of volume. For a large volume buyer, placing high quantity orders and arranging shipping is fast and easy. For small quantity buyers, the Market can be a one stop solution for a wide variety of products that are on the shelf and available for immediate shipment. Yiwu is an excellent option for brick and mortar stores or online ecommerce sites that are in need of filler products to keep the shelves filled and customers coming back to see what’s new.
  • There are no name brands at the Market because name brands do not operate at these small margins. However, there are many products that look similar in design and appearance to name brand products. These are not fakes, but a copy of a popular name brand product. If you are concerned about selling “fake” products, then it would be best to stay away from products that look highly similar to name brand products.
  • The products offered in the Market vary in terms of quality. Product quality is closely related to product price. Buyers need to keep this in mind when they negotiate purchasing contracts and orders. Many sellers will offer you a very low price, but just be careful of what you will get, even you see the samples in the shop when you make the order, you still need to check very carefully when the goods arrived, some sellers will just hidden some bad quality ones between the good ones and this is what they say” you got what you paid for”.

About The Suppliers

  • Most suppliers are owned by individual businesses, some are owned by trading companies or factories themselves. It is very difficult to discern which vendors are which, some factories may not only selling their own products, but also they will display some other suppliers’ samples on their shop, and for some traders, they can take you to the “factory” that doesn’t belong to them if you require visiting the factory.
  • Wholesalers at the Market work with both large volume purchasers and small volume customers. Obviously, the large quantity one buys, the better the price, but small lots can be purchased as well. Many shops have spot goods that can be purchased in small quantities in the shop. These spot goods are typically sold as is.

Visiting The Market

  • In general, no one needs to visit Yiwu in order to establish good relationships and begin purchasing products. In today’s highly connected world, anyone can easily search for products, place orders, make shipment arrangements, and build strong relationships online.
  • If you decide to make a visit to the Market, then there are several things to do in preparation for the visit. Most nationalities require a visa for a visit to mainland China. It easy to obtain the visa, especially for business purposes, but plan ahead and contact the local Chinese embassy or consulate weeks or months in advance of the trip to ensure enough time for processing the visa application.
  • Travelling to Yiwu is not a direct trip as there are no international flights to Yiwu. The easiest way to get to the Market is to fly to Shanghai and then take the high-speed train to Yiwu, which takes approximately 2.5 hours. Or flight to Hangzhou which is only half hour by train. There are many hotels in the area for overnight or extended stays, ranging from budget motels to five-star luxury hotels. When in Yiwu, traveling the city and surrounding area is fairly easy by taxi, but the taxi drivers only understand Chinese. If you have hired a Yiwu agent, then the agent commonly provides transportation for you around the city during your stay. Which leads to the next topic …

Working With An Agent

  • Do I need to hire an agent? A Yiwu Market agent acts as your personal purchasing manager in the Market, accompanying you during your visits to suppliers, negotiating prices, settling payments and arranging for shipment, and coordinating all aspects of the procurement process. Many buyers find this level of local, experienced support highly valuable in making the entire process more efficient and straightforward. Others who have expertise in product procurement and purchasing may not have a need for a local agent. Some may use an agent at first and then once they become familiar with the suppliers and processes take over these responsibilities. Good agents know what suppliers are better for certain products, know the advantages of different suppliers, and know which products are of the best quality. Agents work on a commission rate which gets smaller as the volume increases but is typically in the range of three to ten percent. Beware of agents offering a one percent commission. If you are considering using an agent, contact several to discuss your needs and their fees, ask for references, research the agents, and then select the best one for you and your business.
  • If you are using an agent, the responsibility of the agent for having products from multiple vendors loaded into a single container is straight forward:
    • Place orders in the Market together if you are visiting or have the agent place the orders on your behalf. You should review the orders for accuracy and completeness before paying in full.
    • Book the cargo space
    • Instruct the supplier to deliver the goods to the agent’s warehouse for inspection and consolidation
    • Prepare and submit the customs declarations forms and paperwork
    • Oversee the loading of the container
    • Create all shipping and export forms and paperwork
    • Release the bill of lading to you for importing
  • If you are using an agent, coordinating the shipment of your purchases is their responsibility. Simply provide them with the shipment information and then follow up to make sure things have been set up and are proceeding properly. If you are not using an agent, then you will need to select and work with a freight forwarder directly. Select a freight forwarder and provide the freight forwarder with all of the shipment information that they require. Goods from multiple vendors can be shipped in one container. Again, an agent can coordinate this for you or you can provide instructions to each vendor to coordinate with your freight forwarder according to the FOB terms from each supplier, which is typically FOB Yiwu.

Purchasing At The Market

  • Most of the wholesalers at the Market are not the manufacturers of the products they sell, but rather a trading company with relationships with factories in China and elsewhere that produce the products. To keep their costs low, they may not keep a large inventory on hand and may have to place an order with the manufacturer to obtain the products you desire.
  • Most shop owners and employees at the Market speak only Chinese and possibly a small amount of Basic English. An agent can serve as your translator, making working with vendors easier and more efficient. If you do not have an agent, hiring a translator for the day is an excellent approach to make sure that negotiations go well and that are no misunderstandings about the products, quantities, and product quality that you are purchasing. There are many translation companies in the area, so finding and hiring a translator is fairly easy.
  • Most suppliers offer private labeling options for an additional cost. It is very common for private labeling, especially for online stores. The easiest option is to have the supplier make the private labeled package, although carefully check for the quality and accuracy of the labeling. Another option is to ask an agent to take responsibility for the private labeling and work with supplier on your behalf. The more difficult option is to identify and work with a packaging company, some of which are located within the Market. This company will work with you to create the private labels and then work with the supplier to implement the packaging. This option requires extra work, but often produces the best and more reliable results.
  • The most efficient and effective way to finance purchases and conduct business at the Market is to wire payments directly to the supplier’s bank account. Another other common method is to pay cash in local currency. If you are working with an agent, then the payments are to the agent, who will in turn pay the vendors. In general credit cards are not accepted, traveler’s checks are not recommended, debit cards are burdened with expensive fees, and bank transfers must be done in advance. Visa and Mastercard credit or debit cards can be easily used to withdraw cash out of ATMs or from banks in preparation for any purchase. If you are buying in person in the market, a good rule of thumb is to not pay in full until you inspect the finished products and approve them.
  • It is your responsibility as a buyer to be fully aware of all safety standards and regulations in the county of your business. The Yiwu suppliers cannot be expected to be aware of and compliant with other countries’ rules, customs laws, and other regulations regarding the products. Do not expect the supplier to advise you about any possible regulatory issues. You need to do your research before purchasing any products. Unless you are extremely familiar with the following products, their rules and regulations, and importing issues, customers from the USA, Europe , Australia and New Zealand should be more careful when you decide to purchase the following categories:
  • Cosmetics, (most suppliers are unable to offer the safety test report)
  • Electronics,( very few suppliers have CE, RoHS, UL certificate )
  • Children’s products (Toys) ( especially for the US new Standard ASTMF963-17)
  • Medical devices (it requires FDA, CE, etc.)
  • If you get into a dispute with a wholesaler and have paid in full, it may be difficult to get your money back if there are product quality issues or delivery issues. Always ensure product quality before making the final payment. If you have hired an agent, ask the agent to meet with the supplier to discuss the issue and negotiate compensation or replacement products.

Get Started

You are convinced that sourcing products from the Yiwu Wholesale Market makes sense for your business. You are anxious to get started but don’t know where to begin. One option is to select an agent and begin working with them. This may be an excellent choice for a small business or small online ecommerce website. The agent can help narrow down the vast array of products to only those that fit the profile and focus of the business and recommend the best vendors to consider for product purchases. Working with an agent, business can be done remotely as the agent is your representative in Yiwu.

For large companies, it may be more advantageous to begin with a trip to the Yiwu Wholesale Market and explore the possibilities in person. An agent may still be advantageous in terms of setting up relationships, making connections and following through on purchases, but there is not substitute for identifying and working with suppliers first hand. Following is a short guide on traveling to Yiwu.

While beginning to purchase products at the Market might seem challenging and difficult at first glance, gaining the knowledge of this article and learning more at the Yiwu Wholesale Market website provides a wealth of information to ensure success in purchasing at the Market to grow your business. The first three key steps to getting started are:

  • Identify the types of products you are searching for and then begin evaluating the wholesalers that supply those products online
  • Determine if you want to hire an agent or not. If so, the research agents to find one who understands your markets and products and has experience exporting to your county
  • Decide if you want to visit Yiwu to work directly with wholesalers and your agent and establish sound long term relationships, if so set up the visit and work with your agent if you have one

After a few successful purchases and having built solid relationships with wholesalers, sourcing products from the Yiwu Wholesale Market will become an exciting and profitable business arrangement contributing to your company’s long-term success. With its vast array of vendors and products, every business is sure to find the best products at attractive prices at the Market to accelerate the growth of the business and empower it to expand into new markets.

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