All aboard the Yiwu Express! Next stop: the Chinese city where more than half of the world’s Christmas decorations are made.
Just a few hours south of Shanghai lies the Chinese city of Yiwu, home to miles and miles of markets where most of the world’s “dollar store” items originate. From magnets to keychains to the vuvuzelas that fill party supply stores, if it’s cheap and sold in bulk, there’s a good chance it came from Yiwu.
But dollar store items aren’t actually the city’s primary claim to fame; its massive Christmas market, full of a seemingly endless supply of (often handmade) holiday baubles and tchotchkes, takes that title. How did a small city in the Zhejiang province turn into Santa’s Workshop? Here’s the lowdown on Yiwu, and how it manages to manufacture such a large percentage of the world’s Christmas decorations.