Yiwu, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Jinhua in Zhejiang Province, China, is renowned worldwide for its vibrant and extensive wholesale markets. It has earned the nickname “the world’s largest small commodities market” due to its vast array of products and significant role in global trade.

Location and Geography

Yiwu is located in the central part of Zhejiang Province, approximately 300 kilometers southwest of Shanghai and about 120 kilometers south of Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The city covers an area of around 1,105 square kilometers and is characterized by a mix of urban and rural landscapes.

Comprehensive Guide to Yiwu City

Population and Demographics

As of the latest census, Yiwu has a population of about 1.2 million people. The city is a melting pot of cultures, with a significant number of international residents due to its bustling trade industry. The local population is predominantly Han Chinese, but the presence of foreign traders adds to the city’s cultural diversity.

Historical Background

Early History

Yiwu’s history dates back over 2,000 years. It was initially a small settlement during the Qin and Han dynasties. The region’s strategic location along ancient trade routes facilitated its growth into a significant trading hub.

Development Through Dynasties

During the Tang and Song dynasties, Yiwu became known for its agricultural products, particularly sugar cane and honey. The city’s importance continued to grow through the Ming and Qing dynasties, as it evolved into a center for commerce and trade.

Modern Era

The modern development of Yiwu began in the early 1980s when the Chinese government implemented economic reforms. These reforms allowed for the establishment of the Yiwu International Trade Market, which has since grown into the largest wholesale market in the world.

Economic Overview

Yiwu International Trade Market

The Yiwu International Trade Market, also known as Yiwu Market, is the cornerstone of the city’s economy. According to Yiwu Sourcing Service, it is divided into several districts, each specializing in different types of products. The market attracts buyers from all over the world, making it a global trading hub.

Districts and Specializations

  • District 1: Jewelry, accessories, and toys.
  • District 2: Hardware, electronics, and home appliances.
  • District 3: Office supplies, sports equipment, and cosmetics.
  • District 4: Textiles, clothing, and shoes.
  • District 5: Imported goods and e-commerce products.

Manufacturing Industry

Yiwu is also home to a robust manufacturing sector. The city’s factories produce a wide range of goods, including textiles, garments, electronics, and household items. This manufacturing capability supports the wholesale market and contributes significantly to the local economy.

Service Sector

The service sector in Yiwu is well-developed, providing support to the trading and manufacturing industries. This includes logistics, finance, hospitality, and professional services. The city’s infrastructure and services cater to both local businesses and international traders.

Cultural Landscape

Traditional Culture

Yiwu has a rich cultural heritage that reflects its long history. Traditional festivals, such as the Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, are celebrated with enthusiasm. The city is also known for its traditional crafts, such as paper cutting and embroidery.

Modern Culture

With its global trade connections, Yiwu has become a cosmopolitan city with a blend of traditional and modern cultures. The influx of international traders has introduced new cultural elements, including diverse cuisines, languages, and customs.

Art and Literature

Yiwu has a vibrant artistic community. Local artists draw inspiration from both traditional Chinese culture and modern influences. The city hosts various art exhibitions and cultural events, promoting the exchange of ideas and creativity.

Key Attractions

Yiwu International Trade City

Yiwu International Trade City is the main attraction for visitors and traders. Spanning over 4 million square meters, it is a vast complex of interconnected buildings housing thousands of vendors. Visitors can explore a seemingly endless array of products, from everyday items to luxury goods.

Yiwu Museum

The Yiwu Museum offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. The museum’s exhibits include ancient artifacts, historical documents, and displays on traditional crafts and local customs.

Xiuhu Park

Xiuhu Park is a scenic spot in the heart of Yiwu. It features a large lake, beautifully landscaped gardens, and walking paths. The park is a popular place for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Hengdian World Studios

Located near Yiwu, Hengdian World Studios is the largest film and television shooting base in Asia. It is often referred to as “China’s Hollywood” and attracts tourists interested in the film industry. The studios offer tours and have various themed areas that recreate ancient Chinese cities and famous historical sites.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Transportation Network

Yiwu boasts a well-developed transportation network that includes road, rail, and air connections. The city is accessible by high-speed trains, making it easy to travel to and from major cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou.

High-Speed Rail

Yiwu Railway Station is a major hub for high-speed rail services. The introduction of high-speed trains has significantly reduced travel times, making Yiwu more accessible to domestic and international travelers.

Yiwu Airport

Yiwu Airport offers domestic flights to major Chinese cities. There are plans to expand the airport and introduce international flights, further enhancing the city’s connectivity.

Road Infrastructure

Yiwu is well-connected by an extensive network of highways and expressways, facilitating the movement of goods and people. The city’s road infrastructure supports its role as a major trading hub.

Public Transport

The public transport system in Yiwu includes buses and taxis, providing convenient options for getting around the city. Plans are underway to develop a metro system to improve urban mobility further.

Education and Research

Educational Institutions

Yiwu has a range of educational institutions, from primary schools to higher education. The city’s emphasis on education is evident in its well-established schools and vocational training centers.

Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College

Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College is a prominent institution offering a variety of courses in business, technology, and trade. The college plays a crucial role in providing skilled professionals to support the local economy.

International Schools

Given the city’s international focus, there are several international schools catering to the expatriate community. These schools offer curricula in various languages, ensuring quality education for children of international traders and residents.

Research and Innovation

Yiwu is investing in research and innovation to maintain its competitive edge. The city supports research initiatives in trade, manufacturing, and logistics, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and technological advancement.

Healthcare and Medical Services

Healthcare Facilities

Yiwu has a well-developed healthcare system, with numerous hospitals and clinics providing quality medical services. The city is home to several general hospitals, specialized clinics, and traditional Chinese medicine centers.

Yiwu Central Hospital

Yiwu Central Hospital is the largest and most advanced medical facility in the city. It offers a wide range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and specialized treatments.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Yiwu also has a strong tradition of Chinese medicine. Many clinics and practitioners offer treatments such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and therapeutic massage, integrating traditional practices with modern healthcare.

Public Health Initiatives

The local government in Yiwu places a strong emphasis on public health. Various initiatives are implemented to promote healthy living, disease prevention, and access to medical care for all residents.

Real Estate and Housing

Real Estate Market

The real estate market in Yiwu is dynamic, reflecting the city’s economic growth. There is a wide range of housing options available, from affordable apartments to luxury villas.

Residential Areas

Yiwu’s residential areas cater to different demographics, including local residents, expatriates, and international traders. Key residential areas include:

  • Binwang District: Known for its high-end residential complexes and proximity to the Yiwu International Trade Market.
  • Chouzhou District: Offers a mix of affordable housing and modern amenities.
  • Beiyuan District: Popular among expatriates, featuring international schools and a variety of dining options.

Commercial Real Estate

Yiwu’s commercial real estate sector is thriving, with numerous office buildings, retail spaces, and industrial parks. The city’s strategic location and business-friendly environment attract a diverse range of enterprises.

Living in Yiwu

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Yiwu is relatively affordable compared to other major Chinese cities. Housing, food, and transportation are reasonably priced, making it an attractive destination for expatriates and international traders.

Dining and Cuisine

Yiwu offers a diverse culinary scene, reflecting its international character. From traditional Chinese dishes to international cuisines, there is something to suit every palate.

Local Specialties

Yiwu is known for its local specialties, including Yiwu glutinous rice cakes, Yiwu beef noodles, and various traditional snacks. These dishes are a must-try for visitors looking to experience local flavors.

International Restaurants

Given the city’s diverse population, there are numerous international restaurants serving cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re craving Italian, Indian, or Middle Eastern food, Yiwu has plenty of options.

Shopping and Entertainment

Yiwu offers a variety of shopping and entertainment options. In addition to the Yiwu International Trade Market, the city has several shopping malls, boutiques, and markets where you can find everything from everyday items to luxury goods.

Shopping Malls

Yiwu has several modern shopping malls, such as the Yiwu Small Commodities City and the Yiwu International Trade City, offering a wide range of products and entertainment facilities.


The nightlife in Yiwu is vibrant, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax or a lively spot to dance the night away, Yiwu’s nightlife has something to offer.

Expatriate Community

Yiwu has a large and active expatriate community, consisting of international traders, business professionals, and their families. There are various social groups and organizations that help expatriates connect and integrate into local life.

Business Environment

Business Opportunities

Yiwu offers abundant business opportunities, particularly in trade and manufacturing. The city’s strategic location, extensive market, and supportive infrastructure make it an ideal place for entrepreneurs and established businesses alike.

Investment Climate

The local government in Yiwu actively encourages investment and provides various incentives to attract foreign and domestic businesses. These incentives include tax breaks, financial support, and streamlined administrative processes.

Support Services

Yiwu has a well-developed ecosystem of support services for businesses, including legal, financial, and consulting services. These services help businesses navigate the regulatory environment and optimize their operations.

Tourism and Attractions

Historical Sites

Yiwu has several historical sites that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past. These include ancient temples, traditional villages, and historical buildings that reflect the city’s cultural heritage.

Yiwu Luo Binwang Park

This park is named after the famous Tang dynasty poet Luo Binwang and features beautiful landscapes, historical monuments, and cultural exhibits.

Shuanglin Temple

Shuanglin Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple known for its stunning architecture and serene environment. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals seeking spiritual solace.

Natural Attractions

Yiwu is surrounded by scenic natural landscapes, including mountains, rivers, and parks. These natural attractions offer opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Futian Wetland Park

Futian Wetland Park is a large ecological park that features wetlands, walking trails, and diverse wildlife. It is a great place for nature lovers to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Hengdian World Studios

Located near Yiwu, Hengdian World Studios is the largest film and television shooting base in Asia. It is often referred to as “China’s Hollywood” and attracts tourists interested in the film industry. The studios offer tours and have various themed areas that recreate ancient Chinese cities and famous historical sites.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, Yiwu is poised for continued growth and development. The city’s strategic location, robust infrastructure, and supportive business environment will continue to attract international trade and investment. As Yiwu evolves, it will remain a key player in global commerce and a fascinating place to live, work, and visit.

Key Takeaways

  • Yiwu is the world’s largest small commodities market, offering an extensive range of products and competitive pricing.
  • The city has a rich history and vibrant cultural scene, with numerous attractions and activities for residents and visitors.
  • Yiwu’s well-developed infrastructure and supportive business environment make it an ideal destination for trade and investment.
  • The presence of top-notch sourcing agents ensures that businesses can navigate the market efficiently and effectively.
Comprehensive Guide to Yiwu City
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