IF CHINA IS the world’s factory, Yiwu International Trade City is the factory’s showroom. It is the world’s biggest wholesale market, spacious enoug
IF CHINA IS the world’s factory, Yiwu International Trade City is the factory’s showroom. It is the world’s biggest wholesale market, spacious enough to fit 770 football pitches, with stalls selling everything from leather purses to motorcycle mufflers. On February 24th, as is customary for its reopening after the lunar new year, performers held long fabric dragons aloft on poles and danced to the beat of drums, hoping to bring good fortune to the 200,000 merchants and buyers who normally throng the market each day. But these are not normal times. The reopening was delayed by two weeks because of the covid-19 virus, the crowd was sparse and the dragon dancers, like everyone else, donned white face-masks for protection. The ceremony complete, business began. All those entering the market had to pass health checks and were told to be silent during meal breaks, lest they spread germs by talking.
The muted restart of the Yiwu market resembles that of the broader Chinese economy….