Nation turning out greeting cards at the lowest prices
Published: Dec 26, 2019 09:08 PM

Downtown area is decorated with festive lights in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, on Dec. 24, 2019. Festive lights illuminated the main streets of Tashkent, heralding the start of Christmas and New Year celebrations. (Photo by Zafar Khalilov/Xinhua)

When the so-called "forced labor" rumor put made-in-China Christmas cards in the world spotlight, some may also wonder how much China, a country that does not have the Christmas tradition, has contributed to the world's Christmas card market, and whether there could be a Christmas without "made in China" products.

A Global Times reporter sought the answer by contacting traders and industry representatives in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province, which is also known as the world's largest Christmas goods market. It turns out that China-made Christmas cards, along with many other Christmas products, are the most cost-efficient, reliable and perhaps the only choice for people who celebrate the festival. 

"Christmas cards from our factory are sent to destinations all around the world, though they only account for a small portion of all the Christmas decoration products we sell overseas," Gao Hongliang, who runs the Yiwu-based Jiamei Christmas Decorations Co, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Making Christmas cards is simple, so some of the bigger factories do it all -- from printing and packaging to exporting - themselves. Gao would select some "special" ones from a supplier (a nearby card-making factory) each year and offer them to customers as add-ons with ribbons on the main products his company sells. 

"We also give our customers the best prices on cards, sometimes at no profit, as they themselves are cheap. I think no one else in the world could offer prices as cheap as we do," Gao said.

Apart from a competitive price, the China-made Christmas cards have also stood the test of time, and carried Christmas wishes by people across the world. Lu Yunbiao, general manger of Zhejiang Yunguang Printing Co, told the Global Times on Thursday that as a supplier to UK supermarket Tesco for almost a decade, their products have never had any quality issues.

"Christmas cards are just one of the very small categories we have in the Yiwu Christmas market, which absolutely dominates the world's Christmas market - with its advantage in the supply chain that is both mature and competitive in costs," Cai Qinliang, secretary general of the Yiwu Christmas Decorations Association, told the Global Times on Thursday.

It's not realistic to move the whole industry out of China, or even Yiwu, which will be very costly, Cai noted.

"Even if Tesco halts orders from Yunguang, the next supplier - if there is one - it could find will also be from China, since saying goodbye to 'made in China' Christmas products, will mean rising costs for dealers, customers and traders that no one wants to bear," a Yiwu-based industry insider, who declined to be identified said.