Sébastien Le Belzic (in Yiwu, China), edited by Juliette Moreau Alvarez
07:12, September 22, 2022
Two months before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Chinese stalls are taking on the colors of the event. The largest wholesale market in the world, in Yiwu, south of Shanghai, saw its shelves fill with products derived from the sporting event. A responsiveness that already places China as the number one seller at the World Cup.
It is a veritable Chinese Ali Baba’s cave which is in tune with the World Cup. To the east of the country, the city of Yiwu hosts the largest wholesale market on the planet. A huge bazaar filled with objects in the colors of the 2022 World Cup, two months before the start of the competition in Qatar. You can find everything there: balls, pennants, or even vuvuzelas, a temple of the round ball made in China.
“Suppliers are very responsive”
With more than 80,000 shops in a market the size of 800 football fields, Yiwu is nicknamed “the supermarket of the planet”. Frenchman Mario Chevalier has lived in this city south of Shanghai for 14 years and exports all his products to Europe. “You can find everything there. It can go from pots to swimming pool accessories, to key rings”, he describes. “The suppliers are very responsive. As soon as there is a trendy product, like here, we arrive at the World Cup, they all start making the product that works.”
Now make way for 100% football stalls: “We have hats, scarves, flags”, continues the Frenchman. Balloons at 1.50 euros or “Qatar 2022” key rings at ten cents. The goodies display very low prices, because most hunters use the logos of FIFA and the next World Cup without authorization.
Ge Rongsha manufactures accessories for supporters. Jerseys, scarves, flags and the famous vuvuzelas, everything goes. “Some customers, like in Brazil, have ordered tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of products for their supporters,” says the manufacturer. Since the beginning of the year, more than 30 billion euros of goods have been exported from Yiwu. And if China is not qualified for the World Cup in Qatar, it has already won the title of first seller.