Yiwu Index and China Economy

Other storeholders pursue a similar goal for more or less every product imaginable,from vacuum cleaners,Christmas decorations,knock-off iPods and shirt buttons to bidets,Wellington boots,LCD televisions and shaving foam.

It is the goods’destination that is most significant:not Wal-Mart,Carrefour and Tesco,but the millions of small shops and traders in emerging markets whose aggregate buying-power is vast and growing.

The guiding principle is not so much that the customer is always right,but that the customer is always everyone.

At present,the faltering global recovery has kept crude oil and commodities far below their peak and the slump in European and American consumption is not helping.

The goods in Yiwu,say the buyers,are constantly improving. As China’s trade tendrils stretch further,the quality of demand is rising in lock-step with quantity.

The sheer weight of this micro trade,starts in Yiwu and ends in a Brazilian night-market or a Yemeni souk,particularly with the Middle East,may prove pivotal in China’s quest for global influence.

Placed in its rightful global context,the Yiwu market,Ben Simpfendorfer,RBS’s chief China economist,argues,stands at the eastern end of a New Silk Road,a nexus of trade links between China and the Middle East that may soon assume colossal geopolitical and economic importance.

And the growth of that importance can now be measured.

Liang’s daily pace of trade,in combination with hundreds of other Yiwu traders,feeds data into the“Yiwu Index”,a numerical reckoning of the flow of small goods leaving the world’s biggest wholesale market and a kind of barium meal for tracking the rising scale and sophistication of the “Made in China” brand.

When the Yiwu Index does begin to advance more strongly again,its trajectory will describe China’s global growth as Beijing would love to be known around the world:the neutral merchant in a partisan bazaar.

The same principle applies to its flight path as a soaring geopolitical power.

Yiwu,its customers and its astonishing array of goods bear far more scrutiny by the outside world than they currently receive:on one viewing,it’s the biggest trove of tat conceived by mankind; on another,the birthplace of a New World Order of trade.

(From Times)

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