Buttons Wholesale,China Button Factory and Company

The majestic China Qiaotou Button City comes into view as soon as the traveller turns off from the Qiaotou town exit at the Yongjia county section on National Highway 330. The market first opened for business in February 1983 and quickly developed into a well known trading centre for buttons.

The buttons wholesale market made its name as number one in its field in Asia, among the 10 nationally-renowned specialised markets in Wenzhou, as early as 1986.

The Qiaotou Button City, as seen today, was built in 1997 near the old market. It sells over 10,000 varieties of buttons, including handicraft buttons, glass-bead buttons, metal, ceramic and decorative fastenings.

Sales volumes account for 80% of the national total and 60% of the world total. In 2002, the City was named by the Zhejiang government as a star market and by the metal products association as China’s Button Capital.

The Button City is jointly run by the town government and the industry and commerce association. It is a two-level structure on a 20,000 sqm site, with a floor area of 33,800 sqm. It houses 771 stalls and 53 shops, 70% of which are selling buttons – while the rest deal in accessories, such as zippers.

Annual rentals range between Rmb500 and Rmb3,000 (HK$471 and HK$2,830) for a stall and Rmb10,000 and Rmb30,000 (HK$9,433 and HK$28,301) for a shop.

The existing number and scale of stalls and shops cannot meet market needs, as the number of dealers increases. In fact, more than 300 button shops have mushroomed in the neighbourhood to create a clustering effect.

Most of the businesses are operated by local people. Among them are direct factory outlets and agents, while a small number of large enterprises in Guangdong and other places have also set up business.

Selling five billion buttons a year

Customers choose buttons (what else).

The market sells a rich variety of mid-to-top range buttons and zippers. Buttons are usually sold in bags of 500.

Wholesale prices for ordinary buttons range between Rmb0.1 and Rmb0.2 (HK$0.09 and HK$0.18) a piece, or from Rmb50 to Rmb100 (HK$47.1 to HK$94.3) a bag. While cheap buttons only cost a few cents, top-end products may have a unit wholesale price of several yuan.

The market sells about 5 billion buttons a year, which means that it is the equivalent of selling four or five buttons to each person in China each year.

Shops in the button city mainly do business in the form of cash sales, but factory owners accept orders. There are branches of the Industrial and Commercial Bank and Agricultural Bank, a post office and freight forwarders around the market.

There will be completion of an expressway in the second half of this year, and it will only take 10 minutes to go to Qiaotou town from downtown Wenzhou, facilitating the movement of goods. In the past, the market mainly served tertiary wholesalers and end-users, but now most customers are also wholesalers for garment enterprises.

Products are sold to Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and other parts of the country, as well as around the world. Annual transactions are worth Rmb1.4 billion (HK$1.3 billion) and these are growing at a rate of up to 20%.

The rise of the button market has precipitated the mushrooming of button enterprises. In 2002, the total output value of industrial enterprises in Qiaotou town hit Rmb4.2 billion (HK$3.9 billion). Of these, over 500 are button enterprises, with output amounting to Rmb1.6 billion (HK$1.5 billion) in value.

Some enterprises have developed into big corporations. As a result, Qiaotou plans to build an industrial park for button factories, and the first phase of the park has been approved, with plans drawn up. More than 30 button factories have already signed up for the project.

Clothing accessories demand on the rise

Button trade forms 60% of the world market.

The button market has made positive efforts to foster a chain of clothing accessory industries as business flourishes.

This has paved the way for the birth of a clothing accessory production and marketing base around the market. Today, Qiaotou boasts a zipper industry of considerable size and its production of lace, shoulder pads and other accessories is also growing day by day.

The government of Zhejiang province designated Qiaotou as a specialised town for clothing accessories in 2001. There are 68 zipper and button enterprises in Qiaotou with annual output value in excess of Rmb5 million.

Qiaotou Button City has set up China’s largest B-to-B website for buttons to promote its products, while many factories have also built their own websites for online exchange of information and trade. Today, Qiaotou Button City is not only a distribution centre for buttons but also a window for displaying such products and a platform for gathering, disseminating and exchanging market information.

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