Coordinates: 29°32′04″N 120°06′00″E /
29.53444°N 120.1°E / 29.53444; 120.1
Yiwu (simplified Chinese: 义乌; traditional Chinese: 義烏; pinyin: Yìwū) is a city of about 2,000,000 people in central Zhejiang Province near the central eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. The city is famous for its small commodity trade and vibrant free markets and is a regional tourist destination. Although administratively Yiwu is a county-level city, its fame nationally surpasses that of Jinhua, the prefecture-level city of which it is technically under jurisdiction.
Yiwu was founded in the Qin dynasty, at or about 222 BC. Yiwu's long history flourished as early as the Neolithic Age. Yiwu first became a county in 222BC and was renamed Yiwu County in the year 624 AD. In May 1988, the former Yiwu County was upgraded to a county-level city. In 1995, Yiwu ranked the 47th among China's 100 most powerful counties/cities regarding comprehensive economic strength and in the same year listed as Zhejiang's sole city among the nation's experimental counties/cities of comprehensive reform. In 2001, the Yiwu overall economy ranked 19th of all counties (cities) of China.
Yiwu's early culture has given birth to many great figures in the fields of literature, art military, education, and engineering. Among these were Chen Wangdao, China's first translator of the Communist Manifesto; Wu Han, historian and former deputy mayor of Beijing; Zhu Zhixi, the meritorious engineer in harnessing the Yellow River, and Zongze, a well-known general from the Song Dynasty who resisted aggression by the State of Jin, and as well as Wang Lee Hom, a very famous singer.
Yiwu is technically part of the greater Municipal region of Jinhua, although it has a distinct urban core. On China's administrative strata it is a sub-prefecture level city. It has under its jurisdiction 15 towns and 8 villages, which covers 1102.8 square kilometers, 15 square kilometers of which are urban area of 650,000 people (2005 estimate). There has been talk of merging the Yiwu and Jinhua areas into a single municipal zone or economic entity, but this plan has yet to make its way into any formal discussion.
Yiwu is famous in China as a commodities center. People from all over the world come to Yiwu City to buy commodities for resale in other parts of China or abroad. Yiwu commodities wholesale market is developed and managed by Zhejiang China Commodities City Group Co.,Ltd.(Public, SHA:600415)http://en.onccc.com. 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, the market has become a shopping paradise for tourists.
The GDP reached 42.1 billion yuan in 2007, an increase of 15.7% from 2006, and the per capita GDP reached 59,144 yuan (US$7,778). The per capita urban disposable income reached 25,007 yuan and rural pure income 10,255 yuan, increasing 15.9% and 16.4% respectively.
Its 4C-grade airport has opened over a dozen of air routes to such cities as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shantou, Weifang and Shenzhen. The Zhejiang-Jiangxi Railway and Hangzhou-Jinhua Expressway pass through the city, making Yiwu an important local transportation hub. Express trains from Shanghai South Railway Station take less than three hours.
"Yiwu,300 kilometers away form Shanghai, is the largest market of petty commodity wholesales in the world where various foreign buyers go to place orders." Such a depiction comes from Chinese Figures Astonishing the World, a special report co-delivered by the United Nations,the World Bank and Morgan Stanley. In that special report, Yiwu is the only enlisted county economy. And in the choice of "the 2004 Most Favorite Chinese Cities of Domestic and Foreign Public in 2004 ", Yiwu ranked the first among all county-level cities.
In 2008, Eamonn Fingleton wrote: "As documented by the author Tim Phillips . . . [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."
Yiwu boasts an Olympic quality stadium and a large Christian Church. Many events associated with trade take place in Yiwu City. Yiwu also has a sizable Korean and Muslim (both foreign and Chinese) population, mostly working in the import and export businesses, as well as a very small Jewish population also in those businesses. Yiwu is also known as the "sock town" as it produces over three billion pairs of socks for Wal-Mart, Pringles and Disney annually. Yiwu is also known as China's number one producer of fashion jewelry.
Eamonn Fingleton, In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2008), 41.