In China’s Yiwu city, 186 miles south of Shanghai, it’s Christmas all year round. It boasts the world’s biggest wholesale market for festive season paraphernalia, which you can buy or order online 365 days of the year.
The ideas for Christmas novelties for 2015 were in place and manufacturing had begun early in the year. The last shipments to countries across the globe had already been dispatched before the end of summer.
The supply chain of Yiwu’s exports is well-organized, from factories to packers, onward to the dockyards to container ships and through customs to warehouses all over the world.
Inside the wholesale market, you will be assailed by a stunning, overflowing cornucopia of festive decorations for the holiday season. There are literally hundreds of booths selling anything from mini-Santas to larger-than-life reindeers. You can choose from miles of brightly coloured ribbons, garlands and mistletoe, or baubles in every colour imaginable. Stuffed toys and knickknacks fill floor after floor. You’ll recognize many a global trademarks like Barbie and the Minions because here’s where it all originates from.
Yiwu’s entrepreneurial history goes back centuries, to when local traders started buying and selling exchange goods, even chicken feathers, which were made into feather dusters. Since 1982, business has flourished so much that the whole world’s Christmas seems to be manufactured here, and it always rings in a happy new year for both buyers and sellers.