Known as the “world supermarket”, Yiwu connects 2 million small and medium-sized enterprises, operates 1.7 million single products, and exports its products to more than 200 countries and regions around the world.
However, a sudden new crown pneumonia epidemic forced people’s lives to press the pause button. The epidemic has had a huge impact on international trade, and Yiwu, as a link in the trade chain, seems to have also encountered a crisis.
Yiwu Under the Epidemic
Yiwu has the world’s largest small commodity market and plays the role of a commodity distribution center in international trade.
Yiwu uses its small commodity market as a link to connect industrial clusters across the country, allowing merchants from all over the world to establish business connections with the help of the transaction scene of the Yiwu small commodity market.
Therefore, Yiwu’s foreign trade largely depends on the merchants entering and leaving the market. However, in the context of the current epidemic raging around the world, the flow of people between countries and regions has been greatly affected, and the passenger flow of Yiwu International Trade City and the number of foreign trade merchants have naturally dropped sharply.
However, since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, Yiwu’s foreign trade performance has not been as “desolate” as the trade city seems to be, but still maintains an upward trend.
On the whole, the total transaction volume of Yiwu’s international trade shows an upward trend. Although the annual growth rate of total transactions in 2020 has declined from the past, in 2021, the annual growth rate has returned to or even exceeded pre-pandemic rates.
Before the epidemic, Yiwu’s total foreign trade import and export volume was in a stage of rapid growth. Among them, the annual growth rate is also increasing at a faster rate, and the annual growth rate in 2019 reached 15.90%. However, due to the impact of the new crown epidemic, although the total amount of foreign trade transactions in 2020 has increased compared with the previous year, its growth momentum has not maintained the speed before the epidemic, and the annual growth rate has dropped to 5.40%. Until 2021, the growth rate of total imports and exports has rebounded, even exceeding the average growth rate before the epidemic, reaching an annual growth rate of 24.70%.
Today, two years after the outbreak, Yiwu’s foreign trade industry seems to be back on track. However, this does not mean that Yiwu has completely escaped the shadow of the epidemic. So, what impact has the epidemic had on Yiwu’s foreign trade?
The Impact of the Epidemic on Yiwu’s Foreign Trade
The epidemic has had a certain impact on Yiwu’s foreign trade.
Due to the impact of the epidemic, overseas merchants cannot enter, resulting in many merchants being unable to attract new customers.
Mr. Chen of a foreign trade company said: “In the past, they (foreign businessmen) could come in Yiwu to purchase, but now they can’t come in. If customers can’t come in, our new customers will grow very little.”
Not only that, due to the severe overseas epidemic, the governments of many countries have adopted policies such as closing the city/country, resulting in the closure of merchants and the detention of freight. The widespread shutdowns around the world have led to a contraction in global trade. The stagnation of freight has led to unsmooth trade logistics, which indirectly affected international trade.
After the outbreak of the epidemic, various ports at home and abroad began to implement strict control, and ships needed to queue up to enter the port, which caused port congestion; coupled with the low rate of resumption of work by foreign dock workers, the shortage of manpower, and the long loading and unloading time, resulting in a decline in loading and unloading efficiency. cause freight congestion.
Since the Yiwu market is dominated by small commodities, the price itself is very cheap, and the merchants who come to purchase are also very sensitive to the price. The increase in shipping costs will increase or even double the cost, and overseas customers may consider whether to place an order more carefully.
In the past 20 years, Yiwu Trade City has become a “world supermarket” by virtue of its foreign trade. However, in the context of the profound changes in the world situation due to the epidemic and the full rise of the Internet, this flower bred from the traditional offline trade model is experiencing A harsh winter.
However, Yiwu was not overwhelmed by the impact of the epidemic. Instead, it actively took countermeasures, so that Yiwu’s foreign trade data increased rather than decreased, and the trade situation was getting better and better.
First, the policies and measures of the state and the Yiwu government have promoted the recovery of Yiwu’s foreign trade.
From a national perspective, good domestic epidemic control has enabled factories, foreign trade companies, and other enterprises across the country to resume work quickly, ensuring their normal operation.
The Yiwu government has also actively contributed to the recovery of Yiwu’s foreign trade. When the epidemic broke out in China in the early stage, the biggest impact on the country was the delayed opening of the market and the stagnation of factories and logistics. However, while strictly ensuring the prevention and control of the epidemic, the Yiwu government has introduced a policy to encourage the resumption of work and production. For example, tax reduction, chartered car to pick up employees back to Yiwu.
In addition to the promotion of the state and the government, merchants in Yiwu have also changed their trading habits, changed from passive to active, and worked hard to maintain their past customer sources to ensure their stable income.
Therefore, the stable customer resources of various outdoor trade companies have helped them survive the most difficult period of the epidemic and minimized the impact on sales caused by the epidemic.
At the same time, Yiwu merchants are also actively seeking transformation, by changing trade channels to adapt to trade methods in the epidemic environment and meet people’s shopping needs, so as to develop new customer resources.
The epidemic has had a non-negligible impact on international trade. With the help of the local government and the respective efforts of various merchants, Yiwu successfully turned the situation around and reversed the negative situation brought about by the epidemic.
In the early days of the outbreak, it did have a certain impact on Yiwu’s foreign trade. However, as the epidemic continues to change, Yiwu is also actively responding to the crisis, and the city’s foreign trade is ushering in a new spring.
A local said in an interview: “Yiwu is a city with a strong ‘survival desire’, and it will not sit still or be caught.” People believe in Yiwu’s highly tenacious vitality, “the market will use its invisible hand to slow down. Take it easy on these things.”