Exports of sports products in Yiwu, China’s small commodities hub, have seen remarkable growth in the first half of 2023, driven by the impending 19th Asian Games, which is attracting a surge in overseas orders.
According to customs data, Yiwu, located in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China, exported sports goods worth 3.52 billion yuan (approximately 488 million U.S. dollars) in the first half of the year, marking a substantial increase of 22.5 percent compared to the same period the previous year.
With the 19th Asian Games scheduled to take place from September 23 to October 8 in Zhejiang’s provincial capital, Hangzhou, the region is experiencing a notable rise in orders from other Asian countries.
Xiang Lili, the owner of a sports equipment store in Yiwu, noted, “We’ve observed a surge in the sales of sports products related to ball games, thanks to the upcoming Asian Games, with a year-on-year growth rate exceeding 30 percent.”
According to Xiang, overseas customers are increasingly inclined to place smaller orders for higher-quality products. As a result, companies in the region are making significant investments in research and development as well as creating original designs for high-margin products.
A Pakistani buyer who visited Yiwu to purchase basketballs and other related products commented, “The Asian Games, happening in China this year, has sparked a sports frenzy in Pakistan. I’m here to procure basketballs and explore more collaboration opportunities with Chinese suppliers.”
Hu Fangjun, the general manager of a sports goods manufacturer in Yiwu, has also noticed the rising interest in sports. Despite the factory’s daily production capacity of over 1,000 footballs, it still struggles to meet the demand.
Hu stated, “Our overseas orders are booked until the end of this year.” He further noted that orders from emerging markets have outpaced those from European and American markets, with the most rapid growth recorded in regions such as Southeast Asia and South America.