Ye Peng is one of the new generation of traders in Yiwu. (Photo/China.org.cn)
His experiences in e-commerce goes back all the way to his college days running an online store. When he first started his business in Yiwu, his shoes were sold on Taobao, the giant online marketplace under Alibaba. He has since shifted focus to higher-end sites, supplying retailers instead of selling directly to consumer.
Ye says this has helped him raise his product quality, which allowed him to price his handmade shoes twice as much as his peers while remaining competitive.
"Since I started my first brick-and-mortar store back in 2015, I have been determined to keep the shoes as a baby whom I'll carefully raise up in 20 or 30 years, until when it will be widely recognized," he says. "I can make cheap but poor quality shoes that sell a lot, but that's not what I want."
His sentiment seems to mirror the way his hometown has also grown over the years. "Yiwu used to be a little unknown town that's surrounded by hills on all four sides, and nobody could have thought that it would achieve what it has today," Ye says with a spark in his eyes. "I think that achievement has to do with the aspiring spirit in our genes."