Business in Yiwu, China's Christmas toy production hub threatened by COVID-19

Business in Yiwu, China's Christmas toy production hub threatened by COVID-19
Emeh Joy

Christmas celebration and cheer for 2020 might be dampened as the Yiwu Fuye Christmas factory takes a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

At the Christmas factory located in eastern China, workers work almost around the clock stitching Santa Claus toys and checking that they play a thrilling Christmas song at the press of a button.

But the jingles this year is much likely to be affected as the factory which produces 80 per cent of Christmas consumer items exported worldwide gets hit by the impact of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Luo Jingjing, the company's co-owner who lamented losing almost half her clients because of the COVID-19, said, "There is no way to save this year".

"Let's see if the virus will return when the weather becomes cold and if it does, my next year's business is finished", she added.

Yiwu city over the past year's has been dedicated to Christmas goods productions as it is made up of factories, stores and showrooms which produce and deliver toys and decorations to various countries around the world.

Even though there is no massive production of Christmas toys this year, many sellers will still be left with excess stock

Last year, the city was reported to have exported about 1.92 billion yuan ($278.02 million) worth of Christmas products between January and October. This figure is up 23.9 per cent from the previous year, according to the government data.

Data for this year is yet to be released. However, the anecdotal evidence is grim considering the fact that the pandemic had among all things halted international business travel as many countries placed a ban on the entry of foreigners.

Usually, Christmas shops in Yiwu's city markets get piled up with samples of faux Christmas trees, reindeer toys, dancing and singing Santa Claus figurines, Christmas decoration items etc.

All those displays are meant to attract clients from far places like Brazil and the United States who usually visit the city in the summer months to make bulk purchases in readiness for the Christmas season.

Liu Jufang, who owns one of such showrooms, speaking with Reuters, said, "It is not comparable if we talk about the flow of customers inside the commodities market this year.

"There is no flow here at all. Foreigners cannot come (into China) at all. It's an empty market. That's it".

Normally, Yiwu would have been producing in large amounts in the recent months, preparing for sales in October. But even without the high production this year, many sellers would still be left with excess stock.

Given that Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in China, and there is little interest from local eCommerce platforms, finding alternate buyers has proven to be difficult.

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