Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

Could the Coronavirus Lead to a Change of Africa-China Trade Patterns?

A security personnel wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus which originated in the central city of Wuhan is seen at the entrance of subway station in Beijing on January 28, 2020. NOEL CELIS / AFP

With the recent Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV
outbreak thrusting China into the limelight, the world is gripped by health
concerns. However, the impact of the virus on trade, including with African
countries, could also have long-term implications, for better or worse.

Yiwu, a little-known city in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China is home to the world’s biggest market for “small commodities”, or rather, wholesale manufactured items. At over 7 kilometers large and with 70,000 businesses inside, you can find literally everything from kitchen appliances, to hair accessories and Christmas decorations.  Around 300,000 foreigners visit Yiwu each year to purchase cheap but highly desirable goods and send them back to their home countries, the vast majority of these from developing nations, including African countries.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.