Yiwu in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang province, the world's largest small commodities market, is constantly improving its business environment to attract more foreign merchants.
Every year, over 500,000 businesspeople from around the world go to the city to purchase small commodities, and over 13,000 foreign merchants from over 100 countries and regions have become permanent residents here.
In Yiwu, there are more than 6,900 agencies dealing with foreign businesses and affairs, including over 2,500 joint ventures with foreign investment. The number accounts for 75 percent of the nation's total.
In recognition of the importance of foreign merchants to the local economy, Yiwu has launched a series of administrative reforms to facilitate operations for those who do businesses in the city.
Foreign merchants show off the ID cards they've received from the public security bureau in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. [Photo/zgyyw.cn]
Every businessperson from foreign countries can apply for ID cards which registers their personal information, visa status and accommodation. The card, issued by the local public security bureau, facilitates information sharing between different departments and improves the experience of foreign merchants who stay in the city.
Yiwu International Trade Service Center
Government services are accessible at the Yiwu International Trade Service Center. [Photo/china.com.cn]
The setup of Yiwu International Trade Service Center is an important measure the city's government has taken to deepen its administrative reform. By placing the foreign-related government services under one roof, it allows foreign businesspeople to enjoy comprehensive and professional services and to go through all their business procedures in one place.
Moreover, the documents needed for services are being cut down on and many steps are being brought online to ensure that if people have to visit the service center, they only do so once.
A Pakistani mediator working for the Yiwu mediation commission talks with foreign businessmen in an attempt to settle a commercial dispute between them and Chinese merchants. [Photo/Xinhua]
Yiwu has a special mediation commission for commercial disputes involving foreign businesses. The city appointed 22 foreign merchants as mediators to help tackle trade frictions. They are all volunteers and passionate about their work.
The organization, which asks foreign people to mediate conflicts between Chinese and international merchants, is using a new way to facilitate foreign trade in Yiwu and has gained good outcomes since it was established in 2013.
Thanks to its quality government services and favorable business environment, Yiwu has been attracting more and more foreigners to run businesses here. From January to April this year, the number of inbound foreign merchants hit 171,300, up 4.4 percent than the previous year. The value of foreign trade in the first quarter of 2018 reached 57.18 billion yuan ($8.31 billion) in Yiwu, a year-on-year increase of 16 percent.