The upcoming FIFA World Cup is a profitable event for China’s exports. But COVID-19 is standing in the way at a very critical period.

According to Nikkei Asia, manufacturing hub Yiwu city in central Zhejiang Province have been slammed with a stringent lockdown, causing World Cup orders such as jersey, balls, and other related goods to be canceled. 

Clients are anxious as the global tournament is kicking off in less than 100 days, teetering on missed delivery as the lockdown means suspended production. Yiwu is one of the largest small commodities markets in the world. Unfortunately, it is also home to many World Cup fan goods. 

Chen Xianchun, operator of Yiwu Jinzun Stationary and Sports says, “Our production has been stopped for over a week and we’ve had a considerable number of orders canceled.” Chen’s business produces various World Cup products, like balls and keychains.

The lockdown in Yiwu was initially scheduled for three days only, starting August 11, but as flare-ups persisted, the authorities kept it in place with no specific end date. The measure encompasses the enormous wholesale market in Yiwu, which has more than 8 million square meters of space. 

Chen says, “For established traders like us, we can go without business for 10 or 20 days. But we will be very worried if the lockdown continues beyond that.”

The FIFA World Cup has been scheduled for November 20-December 18. Likewise, Nikkei Asia reports that the stakes are high this pandemic shutdown might repeat the unprecedentedly protracted closure in Shanghai earlier this year. 

Talking to Yicai Global, Chen says three to 10 days will not affect customers much. However, if the lockout continues for one to two months, it may be problematic.

Yiwu does allow some businesses to continue operation under closed-loop management, but worries about production remain as the city’s supply chains have been affected by the measure.

Li Juan, a Christmas ornament trader says, “The delivery of some raw materials have been interrupted.”

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