Home Life Middle East trade rekindles Silk Road in Yiwu of China
Middle East trade rekindles Silk Road in Yiwu of China PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 04 December 2008 10:34

YIWU, China (Reuters Life!) - Tens of thousands of Middle Eastern traders and businessmen crowd the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu every year to source cheap products to sell in their home markets, transforming this small eastern corner of China into a buzzing trading post.

With the influx of Middle Eastern money, Yiwu, a city of 2 million people in eastern Zhejiang province, has been slowly transformed in recent years to become a major trading hub between China and the Middle East, a new Silk Road linking their economies.

Every Friday, the main mosque here offers a glimpse of how well the business is doing here. There are buyers from Lebanon, traders from Yemen, businessmen from Egypt, all gathering for their weekly prayers.

From 2000, Yiwu was like a small village. Now it is a big city, with a lot of foreigners, a lot of Muslim people. Because of business here.

With the arrival of Middle Eastern traders and money, Yiwu slowly branched out to become a hub for selling made-in-China Arabic products, such as fashion apparel and religious artifacts.

The traders are usually young Middle Eastern men who have ventured here first as buyers, sourcing for a steady supply of daily household products that have simply become inaccessible in some of the conflict zones in the Middle East.

With Yiwu today, businessmen say the advantage is that the price is right and buyers are also able to procure items in the quantities they want.

"There are many Arabic businessmen who come here to do business because Yiwu is very famous. Also, our Arabic customers come here to Yiwu and not to other places, because they are able to buy items here in small amounts and not be restricted to big quantities," said another businessman, Lebanese Ali Husseini, 30, in fluent Mandarin.

With the business side of things booming, Yiwu has also transformed itself to become an ideal home for the families of the Middle Eastern traders based here.  Continued...

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