China does not even recognize Christmas. Yet China controls the global Christmas market. The Christmas tree, is one of the most popular Chinese exports. The West and even the poor third world get their artificial trees from China. To put things in perspective 51.3% of Christmas trees come from China. China controls 60-70% of the global sales of the Christmas market, with China earning upwards of $3 billion every year.
There is a special production zone, the Yiwu area in the eastern Zhejiang Province. There you’ll find 600 factories and workshops. All of them produce Christmas products to be exported to the Christian world. China has built freight train lines that run from Yiwu directly to London, Madrid, Prague, and Tehran. The Yiwu-London rail runs a good 12,000 km and crosses France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. A journey from Yiwu to London takes two weeks.
Production is all year round, with breaks occurring only during the Chinese New Year in January or February. Production goes on even on Christmas day itself. Orders, however, begin arriving in the Summer, meaning that the busiest season for producing is in June and July.
Of course all Christmas trees and decorations littering African cities and middle-class homes in Africa travel all the way from Yiwu.
While we beat ourselves silly about nonsense ways of growing the economy, we should start thinking about product lines and how they fit in the consumerist culture, globally.
Every time you sing your twinkle twinkle little song around a twinking twinkling plastic pine tree at the corner, China’s economy expands a little.
They don’t care about Jesus or his birth though. That’s your business. They are smart. They see your Christian beliefs and symbols as a market. And they satisfy it, every year.
(Lessons? What if Kenya can have a special economic zone in each of the 47 counties specializing in a single product line, exploit economies of scale, and target African markets?)