|Models walk on the catwalk during a fashion week in Puyuan Town, east China's Zhejiang Province. [Photo courtesy of Puyuan Town]|
Puyuan, a small town that previously did not have a tradition of raising sheep in east China's Zhejiang Province, has emerged as the largest trading center for woolen sweaters in the world, helping local residents march in lockstep toward common prosperity.
The woolen sweater sector in Puyuan saw combined transactions amounting to 108.9 billion yuan (about $17.1 billion) in 2020. The town is home to 20 trade zones and more than 13,000 sweater shops, with over 200,000 people working in the industry.
The woolen sweater industry in Puyuan began to take shape in the early days of reform and opening up. Back then, locals in the town set up stalls on the streets and peddled their products, according to Wu Bingming, chairman of the Zhejiang Woolen Sweater Association.
|Photo shows a night view in Puyuan Town, east China's Zhejiang Province. [Photo courtesy of Puyuan Town]|
In 1988, Puyuan had 259 private woolen sweater companies with 1,540 flat knitting machines, and their combined output value reached almost 100 million yuan.
Then, after raising 580,000 yuan, the town built its first woolen sweater and yarn trading market, which served as a prototype for today's large-scale woolen sweater market. Since then, a large number of merchants have shifted in and out of the town, making it the largest woolen sweater trading hub across the entire country.
Today, merchants in the town have jumped on the bandwagon for livestreaming e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce in the hope of selling their products to more places within the country and around the world.
Wang Gaidi, 52, is one of those merchants who have joined livestreaming e-commerce as a way to sell woolen sweaters. Attracted by Puyuan's full-scale sweater industry, Wang left her hometown and started her business in the town in 2016. Within a few years, Wang emerged as a popular livestreamer with more than 1 million followers on a livestreaming platform. Every month, her total sales volume via the livestreaming sessions now reaches about 5 million yuan.
|Photo shows a shopping mall full of woolen sweaters in Puyuan Town, east China's Zhejiang Province. [Chinanews.com/Zhou Sunyu]|
Wang's success is an epitome of the town's booming woolen sweater industry and livestreaming e-commerce. In the first 10 months of 2021, Puyuan's woolen sweater market registered a combined trading volume of more than 89.7 billion yuan, including 39.6 billion yuan through e-commerce platforms.
Zhu Jiaqi, general manager of Puyuan Textile City in the town, set up an e-commerce livestreaming base in collaboration with the popular Chinese short-video platform Douyin in December 2020, helping enterprises and merchants adopt livestreaming marketing techniques. So far, the base has achieved a total sales volume of more than 1 billion yuan through live-streaming.
|Photo shows Wang Gaidi during a livestreaming session. [Chinanews.com/Zhou Sunyu]|
The woolen sweater industry in Puyuan has brought fortune to 200,000 locals. In 2020, the town's 13 administrative villages saw an average annual income of 5.62 million yuan. The per capita disposable income of rural residents in the town reached 42,017 yuan.
Puyuan aims to develop a woolen sweater industry cluster with a gross output value of more than 100 billion yuan and a combined volume of online and offline transactions exceeding 200 billion yuan by 2025, according to Yu Wujun, Party chief of the town.
(Source: People's Daily Online)
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