Since being included in the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone in September last year, the county-level city of Yiwu has made progress in free trade and investment, transportation and digital development.
In 2020, the Yiwu government rolled out six action plans responding to the country's dual-circulation paradigm and innovation in the service trade.
A series of projects have been implemented. Among them, a domestic market alliance has signed 20 contracts, and a city manager project has inked 100 agreements, according to the city government.
On Dec 30, the city opened a product exhibition center supporting farmers and agriculture, which has generated sales surpassing 10 million yuan ($1.54 million).
In the overseas market, the city has cooperated with 50 overseas businesses, which have a combined warehouse area of nearly 240,000 square meters.
The city also developed an exhibition hall project dubbed "Showing You Around China", which has been launched in trade service centers in countries and regions such as the Czech Republic, Rwanda, Dubai, Germany and Spain.
The city has built digital trade hubs in Rwanda, the Czech Republic, Spain and Germany, which are all currently in operation, according to local officials.
Yiwu has also made progress in trade services. In 2020, the city's export volume topped 300 billion yuan.
Last year, Yiwu's digital comprehensive bonded zone inked 39 intention agreements, with signed warehouse space covering some 291,000 sq m.
In addition, the Chinagoods digital platform has been launched in Mandarin, English and Arabic, with a gross merchandise volume surpassing 16 billion yuan, according to the city government.
Approved as the only national import trade promotion innovation demonstration zone in Zhejiang province in 2020, Yiwu has welcomed more than 1,300 importers, an increase of 40 percent year-on-year. In the same year, the city was approved by the Ministry of Commerce to be an export pilot area for secondhand cars. On Feb 9, the Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe freight train exported the first secondhand car to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
In 2020, Yiwu ran 974 freight trains on the Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe route, transporting 80,392 containers, up 90.2 percent year-on-year. It added three new routes－Yiwu to Vilnius, Lithuania; Vietnam and Ukraine. During Spring Festival in 2021, the city ran 26 freight trains.
In terms of investment promotion, the city has encouraged the registration of virtual industrial clusters, which is an initiative for helping solve the limitation of spaces for operation.
So far, the number of registered virtual enterprises has topped 6,000 and Zhejiang FTZ is now home to more than 12,000 new businesses.
Moreover, Yiwu has made progress in facilitating business registrations. It allows applicants to apply online to advance approval efficiency. It provides foreign investors with services including cross-border registration for businesses involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
At present, a total of 43 items for enterprise licenses can be handled immediately, which can be reviewed efficiently with no need for many documents, according to the city government.
The city had also built an international single window to provide one-stop services based on the FTZ comprehensive service center and the Chinagoods platform.
As the world's largest small commodities market, the city will build a matching financial center through measures including cross-border cooperation and relevant projects in the next few years, according to local officials.
Dedicated to building Yiwu as a pilot city for digital and intelligent development, the city has conducted reforms in improving the business environment.
The city has launched integrated self-services for endowment, medical, unemployment, employment injury and maternity insurance.
Yiwu has completed 204 of the 242 measures for optimizing its business environment, the city government said.