|Yiwu’s Sock Industry Achieves Digital Transformation|
Socks, as one of the representatives of Yiwu’s small commodities, have formed a mature industrial cluster. Over the years, brands such as Langsha and Mengna have gained a certain influence across the country. However, facing the challenges of rising labor costs, weakening price advantages, and sporadic outbreaks of the pandemic at home and abroad, the Yiwu sock industry needs to break through barriers and achieve transformation and improvement in the market.
On September 6, in the Qinxia Knitting store in the fourth district of the International Trade City, Zhou Yaozhong, a 49-year-old man who could speak English was doing live broadcasts. Zhou Yaozhong, the representative of the first generation of Yiwu’s market operators, has been in the socks business for 25 years. Two years ago, he felt unprecedented pressure. “The unit price of socks is not high, labor costs are rising, profit margins are constantly compressing, and sporadic outbreaks of the pandemic all make the socks market show a downturn trend.” Zhou Yaozhong was very worried, and he invested a lot of research and development funds and worked very hard on the product. High-quality products also need good channels. Hearing that many surrounding factories transformed to sell goods through live broadcasts, Zhou Yaozhong, who seldom plays with his mobile phone on weekdays, has also downloaded several live broadcast platforms. Now he uses his mobile phone every day to do research work.
Two years ago, several small Internet celebrities came to the Qinxia Knitting store in the hope of using their famous products to live broadcast. Zhou Yaozhong is very enthusiastic, and he provides Internet celebrities with new products at low prices and high quality. Therefore, Zhou mainly focused on the supply chain for Internet celebrities. Before a product was developed and put on the market, Zhou would spend several days taking notes: the product name, size, fabric, color, and most importantly the characteristics of the refined product. After the note is finished, Zhou will send it out to dozens of internet celebrities at the same time. Many products became popular overnight and achieve “hot product” status. For the online business, Zhou not only learned about brand packaging but also product upgrading. He returns to the essence of consumption and attaches great importance to the quality of products.
With the help of digital transformation, Yiwu’s socks have fully realized digital transformation in R&D, manufacturing, and sales. During the period of reform and opening, Langsha is a participant, witness, and beneficiary. In the face of Yiwu’s vigorous development of the private economy, private companies will move towards a broader stage. And Langsha will also take this opportunity to cultivate the domestic market and explore the international market.
To enhance the core competitiveness and expand production capacity, Langsha introduced 100 sets of the world’s most advanced intelligent equipment in the first phase to promote the transformation and upgrading of their companies. At the same time, it has jointly developed new products and operated post-doctoral workstations with some first-class universities at home and abroad. To date, it has accumulated 12 invention patents, more than 300 utility model patents, and more than 400 appearance patents. It has cooperated with top Italian designers to develop new products all year round.
In Yiwu, the socks business continues to accumulate the power of innovation and brand to promote the transformation of the Yiwu sock industry from manufacturing to intelligent manufacturing. (Text and photo by Luo Wenting, translated by Wei Han, edited by Daniel Haws)