With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicking off next month, manufacturers of official tournament products in Yiwu, Zhejiang province say business has been buoyant despite the global business environment hard.
“We are nearing the end of World Cup-related sales. We will probably deliver all the goods by the end of the month,” said Wu Xiaoming, a sports equipment retailer at Yiwu International Trade Market.
Wu owns Aokai Sporting Equipment, which mainly sells football products. The company has official permission to produce goods for the 2022 World Cup.
“The third quarter is often the off season for small commodity exports, but due to World Cup-related products, it turned into a boom season instead,” Wu said.
“As a result, our orders have increased by 70% compared to the same period last year.
Chen Xianchun, who mainly sells souvenirs like World Cup trophies, medals, key chains and other accessories, has been engaged in foreign trade in Yiwu for nearly 18 years. Its orders were up nearly 50% year-on-year this summer.
According to Chen, the increase in the number of orders is significant compared to last year, although the figures are lower than the corresponding period before the pandemic. And in the past two years, due to COVID-19, there have been fewer foreign merchants able to come to Yiwu for business, but foreign demand has remained strong.
The epidemic in Yiwu in early August led to a slowdown in exports, prompting companies to increase the share of their online sales.
“Most customers have chosen to communicate with us online. We can show product materials and styles to customers through live streaming,” Chen explained.
“While our workload has increased, our customer experience has improved. All World Cup orders have been dispatched.”
According to Yiwu Customs, in the first eight months of this year, Yiwu exported 3.82 billion yuan ($536.8 million) of sporting goods and 9.66 billion yuan of toys.
By region, exports to Brazil amounted to 7.58 billion yuan, up 56.7 percent from the same period last year, while exports to Argentina and Spain rose. reached 1.39 billion yuan (up 67.2%) and 4.29 billion yuan (up 95.8%) respectively.
In order to deliver World Cup-related products to fans around the world as quickly as possible, Yiwu set up a “Special World Cup Transport Network” in mid-September. It only takes 20-25 days for World Cup-related products made in Yiwu to travel from Ningbo and Shanghai to Hamad port in Qatar via this sea network.
The Yiwu Sporting Goods Association estimates that Yiwu products have enjoyed nearly 70% of the World Cup accessories market share, including products ranging from national flags, jerseys and scarves to ornaments and pillows featuring images of the World Cup trophy.
Although the number of orders increased, profits were not as high as expected due to high raw material costs and other factors. Wu said the price of raw materials has risen 15% and fixed costs such as labor have also risen this year. In addition, they had to pay a large sum for freight.
“Our current priority is not profit but attracting customers and allowing the business to operate normally,” Chen said. “The outside influence is temporary, and we are full of confidence for the future.”