Yiwu is a city in the Zhejiang Province, 2 hours west of Shanghai. It’s home to ‘Yiwu International Trade City’ – the world’s largest wholesale market.
The market is like a small town entirely made up of retail space – over 2 sq miles (5.5 sq km) in area and 5 storeys high. It took us a whole day to walk through the market, and a 30 minute taxi ride to get back to where we started.
Yiwu consists of five ‘districts’. Each district is divided into smaller thematic areas – for example: the umbrella area, the replica oil painting area, the wig area, etc. The market contains hundreds of thousands of booths, and each booth represents a factory in China, selling goods manufactured by that factory.
Almost every household in the world owns items that come from Yiwu. From hair extensions to kitchen sponges, Yiwu’s vendors sell orders by the thousand to stock shelves across the world, from Walmart to Amazon.
Photos taken January 2014