If it’s small, cheap and made of plastic, it can probably be found in Yiwu, a city in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province. The marketplace there, called China Commodity City, claims to be the world’s largest wholesale market for small goods, and its sprawling buildings house vast quantities of mass-produced trinkets — crafts, Christmas trees, Barbie-doll knockoffs — that are exported from there to hundreds of locations abroad. Mornings are generally the busiest times, when international buyers, especially from the Middle East, Africa and South America, crowd the stalls, haggle with merchants and place their orders; in the afternoons, the mood relaxes, and sellers take naps in full view of the customers. For Eric Michael Johnson, a Shanghai-based photographer, the stalls ‘‘display our insatiable need for cheap consumer goods,’’ and wandering among them is a dizzying experience.
TOTAL AREA OF THE YIWU MARKET: 4.3 MILLION SQUARE METERS
NUMBER OF BOOTHS: 62,000
INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS THAT RECEIVE EXPORTS FROM THE YIWU MARKET: 215