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January 8, 2010     Post-Gazette
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Page 6 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 8, 2010 Made-in-China -- How it Became Global! There was a town, now a sprawling city, in China that is not even marked on the Chinese maps: Yiwu. It is not only the richest city in China but also the most important of the entire planet, accord- ing to the World Bank. Up until 20 years ago, the city was a small village, in the midst of rice fields and wheat lands, on the delta of the river Yangzi where 100,000 poor peasants once struggled to make a living. The Tai lake, nearby, was a place Marco polo described as a 'paradise'. The only old glory for the village was to have given birth to the man who translated the Communist Manifesto into Mandarin. Today the population is well above two millions, thanks to migrants from all of China, and people from at least 100 countries. Over 35,000 for- eigners work for 3,000 inter- national companies. The city now has an airport, 4,000 ho- tels, 600 skyscrapers, and 110 banks. Everything is now shiny new. The city has a new un- matched glory: it is the larg- est market on earth. Over the last eight years the State has invested 10 billion euro ($14.6 billion), an enormous permanent Exposition Cen- ter, all under cover, has also been built, and it will be ex- tended in a couple of years to more than 5 million square meters (1 meter = 1.2 yards). It is also a place where manufacturers make and sell 90% of the low-cost goods that will be available in stores worldwide. The busi- ness volume of all goods pro- duced every year is above 40 billion euro, with a constant growth of 15% yearly. The se- cret of the International Trade Mart is quite simple: to produce and sell at the low- est price, every single day in the year. This all happens within the sprawling com- plex (many buildings). It isn't a business center. It is ac- tually a perfect laboratory, programmed to transform any material, but first into money! It is wholly based on global consumption. The lo- cal former farmers regard the place as the "future's per- petual motor". To feed it, more than 62,000 wholesale stands, 200,000 merchants, and 100,000 industries keep the business going. This huge place offers 1,700,000 different products to 200,000 customers from all over the world who visit the huge place. by Orazio Z. Buttafuoco Over 600,000 containers deliver merchandise of any kind every year to more than 200 countries, and various regions. Every seller, in this huge market place, operates a store, assigned by the lo- cal official of the Communist Party. The rent, state regu- lated, is 50,000 euro a year, as is the one in downtown London that has also a show- room. The store in London, is the same size as an origi- nal in YIWU, produces as 20 stores back home, as is also the case of other stores in the USA and in Japan, of course in the richest cities. At about an hour ride from the store there are cavern- ous localities where millions work around the clock (dif- ferent shifts) to produce, lo- cally whatever the whole- saler orders, and in a short time. In addition to these production centers, there are dormitories, all the same looking but with assigned numbers. Of course, the ter- minals to ship the merchan- dise from are not too far away from rail tracks, high- ways, and canals, which in China head toward the Yel- low Sea. Any item requested is followed by a 30% deposit in cash! The merchandise is delivered anywhere, no matter the quantity, within two weeks, without any ad- ditional charge. To look for specific items people walk for weeks, on miles of corri- dors, looking into the store windows they find anything that mankind may look for. From above, you can see how the economic center of grav- ity has moved East from the West. The commercial wave that moves from Yiwu and Can- ton for quality products, over- whelms all western enter- prises and the most ad- vanced too. Hu Yan Hu, man- ager of the city-symbol of capitalism, viewed according to the Chinese way to So- cialism says that it is es- sential to keep the eyes open to what may happen later, and be ready to do something new, to take ad- vantage of (economic) cri- ses, and do everything before anyone else. The Chinese at Yiwu are the best in the world, and anyone can see it. At every stand there are five salesmen: One deals with the daily customers; another forwards the orders, by com- puters, another immedi- ately invests the money at the Shanghai stock-market (or Hong Kong's); another All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei Bistro Beer * Wine runs through the market and the industries of the area to study products and prices of the competition and another, may eat or sleep (among the goods). They seem to yell at each other, while counting the money at the same time. They raise children, sometimes born between boxes of products. They are able to change the orders into discounts, based on quantity, with incredible rapidity. They smile say that things have never been so good. They can quote, by heart, the actual price of a single item, the price charged in any nation of the world, as well as the average profit for the retailer. These people, surprisingly, have never at- tended a college or univer- sity. They just try to apply a few rules and show, with pleasure, to apply a simple game, diligently. In short, they make sure that the cost is low, but offer more of ev- erything. They want what nobody else has and make sure that there is a demand for certain goods. Yiwu has been transformed into an economic miracle of the new millennium. In addition to the myriad of products, there is a section where someone thinks about funerals, christenings, birthdays, col- lege degrees, St. Valentine's Day, Halloween, Easter and New Year. The largest of the buildings has everything about Christ- mas, which produces 92% of the presents the entire world will exchange. There you will find everything to deco- rate a Christmas tree. It seems that St. Nick has moved from Lapland to Shanghai. Why many of "Made in China" products cost so little? By now, after reading the preceding, you can understand a lot now. The value of what you now can afford is at least 50 times, often hundreds of times. That's why people now are able to afford to pur- chase items that once were too expensive. The quality may not be exceptional, but affordable because of the low cost. It is the demand by the buyer that allows now many Italian storeowners to pur- chase the merchandise at a sprawling center the Chi- nese have built near the city of Prato, Tuscany (near Flo- rence). The products also come with instructions in 16 major world languages. For the forthcoming World Soccer extravaganza in South Africa people have found all kinds of products associated with the sport. The same goes for Rio de Janeiro where the Summer Olym- pics will take place in 2016. Don't worry, the Chinese are ready to ship all kinds of items to the stores in Rio. The Chinese are already at work. They will be the first to sell their wares ahead and cheaper than anyone else. That's the reason why the economic crisis didn't affect them. They were ready dur- ing the world crisis. Nobody else was. That's why their economy was never affected. 1 Wita" )CC by Maria Gloria Italy gave us "La Dolce Wlta" the film, but it is the members of A.I.D.I (Associazone Industrie Dolciarie Italiane) who continue through their production of sweets of unrivaled superiority, to provide a bit of "la dolce vita" to the world via their "gelati," baked goods, chocolates and sweet confectionery. Since many of our cherished memories of Holidays and family gatherings past include some type of "dolce," I thought I would share some information with you gleened from the pages of "Sweet Land of Italy": Torrone, served in an- cient Rome during sump- tuous banquets was made with almonds, honey and albumen and was highly prized. The delicacy was brought to Rome by Legionnaires. At one princely wedding banquet in Cremona in 1441, a chronicle of the time de- scribes a special sweet "shaped to look like the Torrone magnificent and tall bell tower which dominates the town." The tower was called "Torrione" and the sweet was thus named "Torrone." Torrone's basic ingredients include almonds, honey, sugar, hazelnuts, pistachios and egg whites. From the Abruzzo region comes yet another version, a mixture of chocolates and hazelnuts and very tender. White or dark, hard or soft, Torrone stands tall among the world's sweetest tastes. Soft chewy almond Torrone surfaced in 1260, when the French count of Valois brought it to Benevento. He defeated Manfred there and torrone came and stayed. It is still made and given for Christmas everywhere in Italy. Torrone from Avellino is available by mail, ordered from Anthony Andrioli's site www,torronecandy.com. I like the soft torrone, but you can choose from torroni, biscotti, mostaccioli, cioccolati, gift baskets and more. Gianduia, a new kind of chocolate was introduced in Torino in 1852. It is made with milk, sugar, cocoa and Piemonte hazelnuts, universally regarded as the world's best. With its soft, vel- vety texture, marvelous hazel- nut flavor, Gianduia has at- tained worldwide fame. At the marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III in Monaco in Giandula 1956, Gianduia wrapped in gold foil was chosen as the wedding "bonbon." Amaretti {a tiny bitter) may be packaged loose or may come wrapped in pairs in flower like tissues. One romantic legend tells how a young baker and his lovely fiancee invented the cookies in the 1700's as a gift to the visiting Cardi- nal of Milan. Though it was customary to present the Cardinal with cakes or sweets, the town's scant food supplies could not feed the prelate's huge entou- rage; so the lovers quickly gathered sacks of almonds, sugar, eggs and Amarettl flour, and baked scores of shiny and chewy biscuits. The appreciative Cardinal and his nu- merous followers soon became regular customers. Three generations later, when the delicious almond liqueur Amaretto was invented, amaretti incorporated this taste. Sprinkled with diamond-like sugar crystals, amaretti today lend special enjoyment after meals to tables all around the world, and are especially delicious when dipped in red wine. Panforte (strong bread) was originally a delicacy of Siena, in Tuscany, and now enjoys wide popularity throughout Italy. It too is shrouded in legend. One tells that in 1205, serfs and tenants of the Montecellesi nunnery were compelled to bring the nuns spice and honey cakes as a measure of the census. So delicious were these cakes that they soon came into laymen's hands. In those days, nuns were the great pastry cooks of Italy. Nunneries prepared medicinal mixtures of herbs and spices; and later, the concocting of these was assumed by the "speziali" (chemists), and along with it, the preparation of panforte. Round in shape, panforte's basic ingredients are fresh almonds, candied fruit, (primarily citrus), spices and honey. The most widely sold panforte today is Panforte Margherita, named in honor of Queen Margherita, wife of the Italian king Umberto I, and based on a recipe which gave the cake a more delicate taste. Today panforte is enjoyed around the world, especially during the Christmas season. Though panforte may be served with a wide range of wines, in Italy it is particularly popular with Vin Santo, a sweet raisin wine with origins in Tuscan monasteries. (Continued on Page 14)