On November 7, Yiwu officially established winter, the weather was extremely sunny.
Locals say that if it is sunny on the first day of winter, it is forecasted that that winter will be very cold. However, for many Yiwu businessmen, this winter will not be as cold as the folk forecast.
According to Jimu Xinwen (China), in the iconic International Trade City of Yiwu, products labeled Made in China such as footballs, jerseys, speakers… are quietly sent to all over the world gender every day.
According to estimates by the Yiwu Sports Goods Association, production in Yiwu accounts for about 70% of the market share of World Cup-related products.
4 hours to produce one ball
At the moment of receiving an order to produce a commemorative ball from the organizers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, happiness and sadness seemed to come to Ngo Quan Dung at the same time.
For Ngo Quan Dung, a football lover, turning a hobby into a job is the happiest thing in the world.
But the worrying thing is that due to the impact of the epidemic and the shortage of skilled workers, how to ensure the orders are delivered on time has become a nuisance that he has to face.
Since March of this year, Ngo Quan Dung’s factory has started working from 7 am, he and his wife also come to the factory to take care of it, workers continuously work overtime except Sunday night.
Ngo Quan Dung is the boss, he has to arrange production orders, buy raw materials, and also meet customers at any time. In his own words, sometimes he is so busy that he only wishes to have three heads and six arms, one person to do the work of two people.
So how long does it take to produce a soccer ball in Yiwu? Ngo Quan Dung gave the answer: 4 hours.
“Today, the production of a ball relies on an assembly line” said Ngo Quan Dung, although the production of the ball is not advanced technology, it still needs to go through more than ten stages. He has been in the football production business for 9 years, owned the workshop for more than 2 years, but so far he has not mastered many stages. The ball consists of an outer shell and an inner lining, the skin of the outer shell needs to go through many stages such as cutting, printing, sewing by machine, and then putting the lining inside, until the final edge hand sewn.
Ngo Quan Dung said the final stage required 11 stitches by hand and that beginners take about 6 months of training from learning to sew by hand.
Before setting up his own factory, Ngo Quan Dung worked as a sportswear distributor in Yiwu for almost 10 years, during sales, despite his China football production capacity. Quoc is already very high, but he still often encounters situations where he cannot get goods. During the World Cup in South Africa, Vuvuzela was very popular, in order to find the source of goods, he even went to another city, after much trouble, Ngo Quan Dung decided to open his own workshop.
Starting to build the factory in 2020, Ngo Quan Dung personally participated in all stages from building walls, painting and tiling, even recording videos to post online. It is because of these “documentary”-like films that Ngo Quan Dung “caught the eye” of the World Cup organizers. At this time, he and the Qatar World Cup really started to have a relationship.
Over the past eight months, even in his sleep, Ngo Quan Dung vaguely heard the sound of machinery operating in the workshop.
One day in late October, 12,000 soccer balls were shipped from Ngo Quan Dung’s factory to Qatar. So far, nearly 700,000 balls have “crossed the ocean”, bringing his football dream to the big sea.
Shirt orders increased 3 to 4 times compared to the same period last year
The colorful wigs of the World Cup in Japan and Korea, the vuvuzela of the World Cup in South Africa, the gold cup of the World Cup in Russia… almost every World Cup, there will be at least one item that is sold Popularity.
From the merchant’s point of view in Yiwu, these single products represent a business opportunity.
In the year of the World Cup, the shirt maker Wen Song Jian had a plan in mind early on: Design jerseys for fans and lead the way.
Wen Tung Kien is very fond of football, the style and different design elements of many teams’ jerseys have been engraved in his mind for a long time. For example, the Australian kangaroo and the Canadian maple leaf, he has managed to integrate these elements into his workshop’s unique jersey.
In March of this year, he started designing jerseys. Wen Tung Kien drew a preliminary sample of the design plan that was formed in his mind, and then contacted the printers to finalize the design plan.
To achieve a satisfactory effect, Wen Tung Kien often revises the design draft many times, including small details. For example, the Brazilian team’s jersey originally used the number 10 elements of the famous star Neymar, but later switched to another idea, the colors also changed several times.
After the design is complete, Wen Tung Kien has produced samples for 10 famous teams out of 32 teams participating in the World Cup, customers after seeing the product gave positive feedback, some customers immediately expressed their hope. want to order 40,000 pcs. This surprised and delighted him and went on to complete shirt designs for all 32 teams.
According to him, the shirt he designed can be distinguished from the shirt of the organizers, fans can tell at a glance which team’s shirt is, but the texture and pattern are completely different from the shirt official match.
Wen Tung Kien believes that the high demand for items during the World Cup such as jerseys will stimulate business growth and businesses will also add many new customers after the World Cup.
Since April, Wen’s business has continuously received shirt orders from foreign traders around the world: “Last year, just over 1 million shirts were ordered. But this year in just 3.4 months has produced more than 2 million shirts, from May to August alone, the output has increased nearly 3 to 4 times compared to the same period last year.”
Wen Tung Kien said that the company’s international orders are nearing completion and there are still some additional orders from abroad that are being ramped up production. He left 300,000 shirts to prepare for the domestic market for the World Cup: “Domestic orders usually arrive about 10 days before the start of the World Cup”.
What makes Wen Song ant most satisfied since he started his career is not only the number of orders that have increased year by year. Instead, during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he accidentally saw fans on TV wearing jerseys produced by his business to cheer for the team.
“I was really excited at the time” said Wen Tung Kien, looking forward to seeing the company’s jerseys appear on the live screens of this year’s tournament.
World Cup year “revenue equal to two years combined”
On the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Wu Xiaoming’s factory exported 1 million souvenir balls, worth about 20 million yuan. According to him, World Cup orders have brought in income “basically, 1 year is equal to 2 years” for Yiwu merchants.
Working in the sportswear industry for many years, Ngo Xiaoming has long sensed the business opportunities of each World Cup. At the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Wu Xiaoming sold more than 1.5 million balls. Since then, a year before the start of each World Cup, he will arrange the manpower to prepare football production.
Wu Xiaoming is not a football fan, but he has been with football for 27 years. Starting from a sales agent, then opening a football factory, he has spent 6 World Cups, the business is growing.
Each ball Ngo Xiaoming holds in his hand, with his eyes closed, he also recognizes relevant parameters such as the material used, elasticity, and roundness of the ball. In 2000, he founded his own soccer brand and became familiar with the soccer production process long ago. He has been working with a Spanish businessman for 10 years since 2012. Currently, the balls used in local matches in Madrid, Spain are provided by Ngo Xiaoming.
In July this year, Ngo Xiaoming received an order to produce 100,000 commemorative balls with national flags of 32 teams. This is an officially authorized customer from the Qatar World Cup organizers, but the construction time is very tight, only 50 days.
Ngo Xiaoming said that in his business philosophy, everything is for the customer and he will do everything possible to meet the needs of customers. And Yiwu has never broken a promise, foreign businessmen when encountering urgent orders often think of Yiwu, because there is nothing Yiwu can’t do, only customers can’t think of it.
There is a sentence on the internet: “If you don’t know what to do in the country, type Baidu, if you don’t know, ask Yiwu about things outside of the country.” It is also rumored that, from the number of items sold in Yiwu, it is possible to predict the next US president or the team with the highest chance of winning the World Cup… These sayings often appear in the conversations of the people of Yiwu.
Is the World Cup champion really that predictable? According to a trader who makes World Cup cups, the factory will not rush to produce large quantities of products for a certain national team before a customer places an order. Of course, the factory can then predict the World Cup winner based on the number of orders for cheering props from fans of the national teams.
This person recounted that during the 2016 US election, there was a large number of orders for pro-Donald Trump props in the Yiwu market, and Yiwu businessmen successfully “predicted” that Mr. Trump would win nominate the president. But the case of successfully predicting the World Cup winner has not happened yet. However, it is reported that, based on current sales, England, Brazil and Argentina are likely to be title contenders this year.
In the Yiwu Qiqi stationery store, the national flags of the 32 teams participating in the World Cup as well as the national flags of many countries around the world are hung high, looking very eye-catching.
Ha Tan Ky said that the products produced for this year’s World Cup including small hand-held flags, string flags, car flags and flag robes have all been sold out since the end of August. After the top 32 list of World Cup 2022 is confirmed, customers turn to watch and order. It is expected that all orders can be completed by the beginning of August, but due to the epidemic, logistics work will have to wait until about August 22 to reopen. By the end of August, all orders for the World Cup had been processed.
Ha Tan Ky joined the industry in 2014, right during the 2014 Brazil World Cup, the temperature was extremely high. According to his estimates, the order volume of this year’s World Cup is not as good as the previous two, but still much better than the past two years.
“An increase of 10 to 20% compared to the same period last year.” This year, Ha Tan Ky has gained a lot of new customers, basically local merchants in Qatar, who have a need for flags and come to him to order. The only product with the largest sales is the string flag consisting of 32 national flags, which is widely used in various decorative occasions.
Special transport route for the World Cup
On the streets of Yiwu, there are authentic Middle Eastern restaurants or Southeast Asian restaurants, in roadside cafes, everywhere you can see Middle Eastern people holding long pipes and drinking coffee. On the street, it is not unusual for young Africans to speak fluently in Chinese.
Today’s Yiwu, “international style” seems to be ingrained in the blood.
Yiwu is an iconic international trade city and many export businesses have been established here. The commercial city is divided into five districts, plus a fashion market, with a total of 6 buildings, the design looks like an inverted “7” on the map. A taxi driver in Yiwu said that if he stayed at each shop for 1 minute, it would take 3 months to tour the entire commercial city.
The Yiwu people’s commercial gene was activated during the reform opening period. Even local taxi drivers have opened export trading companies, some selling glass, some producing fashion. When it comes to the international situation, most of them are incredibly athletic.
Many small businesses said that thanks to the World Cup season, sales this year increased a lot compared to previous years. Some traders say the growth rate is 10% to 20%, and others reveal a growth rate of 50%, back to pre-epidemic levels.
According to Yiwu Customs statistics, in the first eight months of this year, Yiwu exported 3.82 billion yuan of sporting goods and 9.66 billion yuan of toys. Exports to Brazil were 7.58 billion yuan, up 56.7%; exports to Argentina were 1.39 billion yuan, up 67.2%; exports to Spain were 4.29 billion yuan, up 95.8%.
Made in Yiwu products have “entered” the World Cup and reached the world not only thanks to high product quality but also thanks to strong logistics and transportation support. In mid-September, Yiwu opened the logistics line “World Cup Specialized Shipping Line”, through the sea shipping route, football fan products such as soccer balls, jerseys are produced by sea. Exports in Yiwu depart from Ningbo port and Shanghai port directly to Hamad port (Qatar) in just 20-25 days.
A logistics businessman in Yiwu, said that if a customer’s goods are sent directly from Shanghai Port to Qatar, it will only take a few days, but due to the shipping vessels stopping to replenish goods in Other ports should reach Qatar will take about more than 20 days.
The person in charge of an international freight forwarding company in Yiwu said that the company’s international shipping business is concentrated in the Middle East, where seven to eight hundred containers are shipped every month. According to this person, the company’s cargo volume in September increased by about 30% compared to the previous month.
According to Ho Phi, senior logistics expert at Cainiao International Supply Chain Shipping Group, this particular shipping route helps merchants in the international commercial city deliver to fans in Qatar and even on around the world before the World Cup started.
Hu Phi said that Cainiao has integrated various shipping resources in a short period of time and opened a “green channel” to help Yiwu merchants to book, only needing to book about 10 days in advance to ensure Guaranteed to be shipped within the specified time, not left behind for any reason. At the same time, World Cup-related goods can also be specially discounted to reduce logistics costs for small and medium enterprises in Yiwu.
Chinese businessman hopes Yiwu will enter the World Cup
Wu Xiaoming’s father was a small businessman who started his business by exchanging chicken feathers for candy in the early days. Ngo Xiaoming still vividly remembers his father carrying goods, carrying a drum around the cave and alleys, the two ends of the poles hanging baskets, in the baskets were brown sugar cubes used to exchange for chicken feathers.
“At that time, small traders were considered ‘speculators.’ They would be stoned by children when they went out, so they often fled East and West, like a guerrilla game” Wu said. But there is no other way, Yiwu land is crowded with people. Chicken feathers from the cock’s tail are used to make feather brooms, and poor-quality chicken feathers are used as fertilizer.
Wu Xiaoming recounted that during the “exchange chicken feathers for sugar” business, his father was away for many years, then, in addition to brown sugar and ginger candies, his father’s basket also contained a variety of goods such as needled, buttonhole, soap. In addition to exchanging chicken feathers for sundries, there are people who spend money to buy them.
Later, many entrepreneurs became successful by trading chicken feathers for sugar. Wu Xiaoming did not take over the “burden” from his father, but he inherited his father’s pioneering spirit of daring to go ahead. In 1995, 21-year-old Wu Xiaoming rented a small stall in Yiwu to sell stationery and officially started his own business.
By this time, Yiwu had grown from outdoor stalls to market stalls to a fourth-generation commercial city, where different products were categorized by category and region. In 1998, Ngo Xiaoming, after 3 years, rented a 36m2 store and started acting as an agent for a football factory in Shanghai, the booth was also expanded, the products were beautiful, and the business situation was good also get better.
From 1998 to 2000, with the gradual expansion of Yiwu market, the form of “booth in the front and workshop in the back” became popular at that time. Market stalls are used as sales windows. The government encourages traders to build their own factories for self-production and business. In 2000, Ngo Xiaoming registered his own football brand and opened a workshop.
Wu Xiaoming said that the growth path of his business resonates with the growth of Yiwu. Today’s Yiwu is about to be built to its sixth generation, adding digital exhibition areas…
He is eagerly looking forward to the day “Made in Yiwu” enters the World Cup.