Monday, July 19, 2010

Yiwu Revisited

Visited Yiwu after a gap of two years. The fast paced development in China and places like Yiwu continue to amaze me. Every visit to this buzzing town sees some new additions and change.
The everchanging skyline of Yiwu
Yiwu is probably one sourcing hub that no retailer from anywhere in the world can avoid. With over 75,000 booths offering a wide range of products ranging from household goods to imitation jewellery, this wide range of merchandise on offer at one place is a buyers paradise. The advantage of buying from Yiwu is that you can buy in small lots and fill up a container with as many as a 100 or more SKUs.
The main market in Yiwu called the Futian market is a series of buildings, 4 floors of air conditioned shopping area and over 4 kms in length from end to end. Each block or building is interconnected enabling one to move from point to point with ease.
Entrance to the new Block that has been added in the last 1 year
The system of booking goods is simple. To begin with, the services of an exporter/consolidator/agent is needed who will act as your interpreter as well as handle the consolidation and forwarding of your goods. Keep in mind that prices need to be negotiated and your best negotiating skills will be put to test. A good consolidator is essential to ensure that you get the goods that you ordered. Ensure that the consolidator has the necessary resources for inspection of goods . Normal payment terms are either 30% advance and balance TT on dispatch or through irrevocable LC at sight.
Futian Market
You need to start your day early - the market starts functioning at 8.30 in the morning and shuts at 4.30 . If you do not have conveyance, leave by 4.15 - getting a cab after that is not easy. The market has an interesting restaurant named Picassa serving Western Cuisine (quite good by Chinese standards) that you would need to visit to rest your tired legs after a few hours of walking around and a hot cup of coffee or some chilled beer.
The Picasa Restaurant at the Futian Market
Getting There :
There is no direct international flight to Yiwu. The options are
  • Fly to Hong Kong . Take a connecting flight to Hangzhou ( 2 Hrs) and by road to Yiwu (2 hrs and 400 RMB by taxi
  • Fly directly to Guangzhou or through Hong Kong and take a connecting flight to Yiwu.
  • Fly to Shanghai and take a train ( 3 Hrs) or taxi (4.5hrs)
Places to Stay
Yiwu has a plethora of places to stay starting from 150 RMB ( $25). However if your work is mainly in the Futian Market, the Best Western Hotel is the place to stay. Just next to the market, it is very conveniently located and offers all that a good 4 star hotel should have.
Yiwu by Night

Friday, July 9, 2010

An Evening in Shanghai

Was in China recently on a business visit and spent a few days in Shanghai. Took the daytime Air India flight to Shanghai - a very comfortable 6 hours - arriving at 8 PM. If you are in Shanghai, the place to stay in is around Nanjing Street - the all pedestrian street with great shopping  dining and night life. 
A rain soaked morning at Nanjing Street 
The street is a beehive of activity at all times and even rain is not a deterrent. The action starts early morning when the central square on the street comes to life with live perfomances of aerobics, musical concerts and much more.
 Tourists enjoying a toy train ride
Nanjing Street is probably the most action packed street in Shanghai and comes truly to life in the evenings when hordes descend for a few hours of shopping and entertainment. Being an all pedestrian street, it is a pleasure to move around in this area and if you are shopaholic, this is the place to be in.

 Nanjing Street is a riot of lights as night sets in. Whereas the place is bustling with activity and people, it can get a bit tiresome with the crowds all around . Shopping , though can be great and you could land up with some fantastic bargains.

If you are visiting Shanghai, I strongly recommend you stay in this area. Amongst hotels, my recommendation - Central Hotel at Jiujiang Road. Fantastic location, great large sized rooms with a seperate living room, well priced - rates from $180 upwards and if you are lucky you could get a room with a view of the central square where action starts early morning.