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Santa's sleigh brings restored order to SMEs

By Yu Ran (China Daily)

14:56, November 15, 2012

A stall owner shows to an international trader Christmas decorations in Yiwu. Business men in the manufacturing center see orders for Christmas season from North America bounce back. [Photo/Xinhua]

Jiang Kexing, the manager of Zhejiang Hongxu Trading Co Ltd in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, didn't need the official PMI data to tell him business outlook was improving.

In an interview with China Daily, the small goods manufacturer in this mega-market town said that he had "the hunch" as early as last summer, when orders for the Christmas season began to flood in, especially from the United States. Demand from Europe has remained sluggish, Jiang said. But slack sales to Europe were "more than made up, by the increase from the US," he said.

The increase came as quite a surprise to Jiang and the many thousands of private-sector manufacturers in the region. "We worked overtime to meet the tight delivery schedules," he said, with some help from the bureaucracy.

A new policy introduced by the Zhejiang government has greatly shortened the time to export processing of Custom's declarations. And that was a great help, according to Jiang.

"It used to take at least half an hour for the clearance to be completed by staff, not counting the time standing in queues, while it only needs a few minutes through a machine now," said Jiang.

Jiang added that it had been a tough year because of anemic overseas orders, and it came as a great relief that he got a flood of Christmas orders over a short time, and the business year will end on a happy note.

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