Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wholesale Market - Yiwu

As I mentioned before, I was (got back to GZ this morning) in a small town in China called Yiwu. It is well known for housing a massive wholesale market where buyers can pick up products for export by the carton, where as in most other places or even at the Canton Fair they would have to book products by the container load. The market itself stretches at least 4 kilometers. There are about 4 buildings making up the whole complex, each has 4 floors. They are all fully air-conditioned and very clean. The range of products available is unbelievable and they are all organized in categories on each floor and in separate buildings.

The main market that I visited was mainly for home wares, electronics, and apparel. There are other large complexes that feature garments and furniture at other locations in the city. Yiwu has everything you can imagine for the general importer anywhere in the world. Most of the businesses in this area cater to these buyers as there are no factories in the area. The factories merely send their products to these markets where exhibitors secure and forward orders to them. They also store stock in numerous ware houses where they also consolidate and ship the goods from. The set up is amazing to say the least.

There must have been a whole floor just dedicated to party accessories. They had every costume you can imagine for Halloween. They also had an immense variety of party toys, masks, and decorations. I can not even think of one shop in Jakarta that has this stuff. It would be a one stop destination for any event organizer. I was imagining some crazy parties one could set up with the stuff here. Even just the hats and wigs would be so cool for the bar dancers in Jakarta bars. That just goes to show how my brain works even while I am working.

I have always advocated that in life you have to stop and smell the roses. Just because I am working with clients does not mean I can’t throw on a wig and horse around a bit. Plus I think orange is really my color.

In the same building they also had a floor just for Christmas items. And these floors are fucking huge. I am running out of adjectives for big here. I even got lost quite a few times. They had everything imaginable from new age LED Christmas lights to custom tree decorations and all the traditional crap too. The stuff was cheap as well. The same products would probably sell for 10 times the price at a shop in NYC. And I must also stress that this place was very clean. There are no warnings posted for fines for littering or even smoking (but there are no smoking signs all over the place) yet the place was relatively clean. I do not attribute that to the tenants or visitors respect for the rules though. There were the random people who would hawk and spit in the shopping center but there were numerous cleaning people walking around and wiping up after them.

Although most manufacturers save their most innovative designs to be exhibited at the more affluent Canton Fair that takes place twice a year, they still release some new products into the Yiwu market regularly. And with as many factories that supply goods here it means there is probably new stuff that comes out every day. I was more blown away by the range of products at the Canton Fair but there was some cool stuff here as well. For example, this is like the coffee cups cold at Starbucks.

Take a look inside and there is this plastic blender blade. The cup has battery slots on the bottom and a smooth button on the thumb area of the cup handle.

When you hold the button down the plastic blades spin quickly stirring your beverage. I thought it might just mix this water lightly but it created a pretty sturdy whirlpool. This would work well with tea or coffee so you could avoid settled sediment and you could stir your juices right in the cup as well. It is also a great cup to make LASSI (Indian yogurt drink) with.

There were also numerous funny items I saw in the market like mouse pads with pictures of hot chicks in bikinis on them and their breasts are filled with gel for the wrist rest or mouse pads with USB ports on them. I have heard of silicon boob pads but never buttocks. I could probably use these as could a couple of other guys I know (Ash). Unfortunately they did not come in my color or else I would have posted a picture of me trying them out in my sexy Y fronts.

Another cool product I saw was this alcohol breath tester on a key chain. I actually tried it out but I don’t think it worked. I had a beer with lunch, actually 2 and it gave me a clear test. But an alcohol tester on a key chain with a flash light? I guess this way you can check if you are legal to drive and find your way to the car. And you can time yourself getting home too! There was a whole lot of other shit that blew me away but I could only stop and take pictures of so much. One such cool product was a mobile phone scrambler for only $200. It blocks reception of all mobile phones in a 50 foot radius. This would be so handy in movie theaters, concert halls, and embassies.

The trip to Yiwu was a real eye-opener for me. The shops do not sell any items per piece and it is difficult to secure samples with out confirmed orders but the system that is in place is extremely efficient. Small scale buyers are given the opportunity to buy an assortment of whatever goods they want at a slightly higher price of course. Factories have one central location where they can showcase their products and get rid of any stock or over production they might have. The infrastructure is well planned and continues to grow. While I was there I saw another 2 building being built adjacent to the existing ones. This is just one town in a huge country that is growing rapidly. Even though the town was small I would see the latest luxury cars parked outside my hotel like the H2 HumV, Porsche Cayenne, BMW’s, and even a Mini Cooper. There is no doubt that people are really making it out here.


AmitD said...

Orange is definitely your color man...

Shan said...

Love the wig :D It's hot!

Anonymous said...

man, those breathalyzer tests would fly off the shelves in any western country!