Yiwu makes it to the Qatar World Cup by supplying 70% of soccer-related products

2022/11/03 12:32

A workshop for soccer jersey in Yiwu,East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Yiwu Danas Import & Export Co

The quadrennial FIFA 2022 World Cup will kick off in Qatar on November 20. But "Team Yiwu," the world's largest commodity center in East China's Zhejiang Province, has already booked a place in the final by supplying competition products and millions of footballs to the tournament.

According to the Yiwu Sports Goods Association, from the participating countries' flags for the top 32 teams to the trumpets and whistles for cheering, from soccer balls to jerseys, and from scarves to World Cup decorations, Yiwu manufacturing accounted for an almost 70 percent of the market share of all the items to be used in Qatar.

Now, at the Yiwu International Trade City, shop owners are kept busy on their phones to communicate with foreign customers and domestic material providers on production. As the important soccer festival approaches, many Yiwu workshops are in full swing to supply products, and the majority of sellers are busy delivering their goods.

Racing to deliver

In order to deliver the World Cup-related products to fans around the world as soon as possible, locals in Yiwu set up a specific transportation network in mid-September for the event. It takes about 20 to 25 days for World Cup-related products made in Yiwu to travel from Ningbo and Shanghai to Hamad Port in Qatar through the network.

One Yiwu-based logistics service provider surnamed Zhou, told the Global Times on Sunday that goods will be transported to Zhejiang's Ningbo-Zhoushan Port from Yiwu through railway, and then shipped to Qatar, arriving within 20-25 days. 

"Logistics are running smoothly and Yiwu port is now operating 24/7. We are also working overtime to pack and deliver goods as orders still come and factories are busy producing the goods. On average, we sent 10 standard containers a day," said Zhou.

For many Yiwu-based sellers, the World Cup is always a peak season for sales, which also bolsters their businesses.

Wen Congjian, founder of Yiwu Danas Import & Export Co, a Yiwu-based businessman focusing on soccer jerseys, is one of them. The busiest times came in July, August and September when he has to add one more shift for workers to work from 6 pm to 10 pm and dispatch excess orders to other eight factories to facilitate production, Wen told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The production cycle is about 20 days. And within 30 days, the jerseys can be shipped to all parts of the world via containers," Wen said. 

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is the fourth tournament Wen has been through since he started the business. Over the past 15 years, his business has expanded from a one-man office to three stores, a sales team of dozens of people and a factory of 100 workers.

Grphic: Xia Qing/GT

Booming business 

Over 20 categories of made-in-China products will largely benefit from the World Cup, according to AliExpress, an online retail platform under Alibaba Group.

More than 10 million items, such as soccer themed playing cards, beers, clothing, small flags and festival-related products, are already available on the online trading platform for overseas market, AliExpress told the Global Times on Sunday.

In the past month alone, sales volume of soccer clothes in Brazil market increased by 680 percent, with a seller on AliExpress selling more than 10,000 soccer jerseys within a week, and the sales volume of soccer boots sold to the United Arab Emirates increased 200 percent in the past month.

"If there were no World Cup, the turnover of a year might have been merely 20 million yuan ($2.8 million). But in the last few months before the World Cup, we have probably far exceeded that turnover, not to mention other revenues," said Wen.

Yiwu Danas Import & Export Co has received two million orders for soccer jerseys from overseas markets for the 2022 World Cup. So far, all orders have been shipped.

A manufacturer surnamed Zhang based in Yiwu, told the Global Times that soccer-related business is running brisk.

"Our orders for the World Cup have been arranged until the end of the year, and now we are in a hurry to ship the goods. In the past two months, orders from Qatar alone have exceeded 10,000 units," said Zhang.

In addition to exports orders, Yiwu manufacturers are also busy producing FIFA-related products for the Chinese domestic market.

According to Wen, his company is now preparing for domestic market orders and cannot have a rest yet, despite almost all overseas orders having all been shipped. Wen has set aside 300,000 units for the domestic market and plans to promote the sales during the upcoming "Double 1" (November 11) shopping festival through internet-based platforms.

In fact, products for have already been trending on many e-commerce platforms in the country.

On Tmall Global, for instance, plush mascot La'eeb has become a big hit for the fans, and the limited edition of the Qatar royal family's World Cup decoration has been sold out on August 12, the 100-day countdown to the FIFA 2022, when Tmall Global started selling licensed products of the game, Tmall Global told the Global Times.

Yiwu, the world's largest commodity center in East China's Zhejiang Province, has been supplying competition products and millions of footballs to the quadrennial FIFA 2022 World Cup.

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