In ”Bulkland” migrant workers, factory owners and night club dancers struggle to carve out their slice of the pie in a city dedicated to bulk sales of cheap junk: Yiwu, the raw, throbbing heart of “Made in China”, where every day is a hustle. As cheap goods have flooded world markets, dollar stores have popped up around the globe and built this present-day Klondike, connected by the world’s longest railway to markets in Western Europe.
In Yiwu, the world’s largest market fills the shelves of discount chains from Sydney to Madrid with electric Santa dolls, copies of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring and ear-wrecking vuvuzelas. Meanwhile, day labourers gather by the thousands in a human market and families have their children help make the zippers that might end up on your fake Chinese purse. But the recipe for success isn’t working anymore. China is getting more expensive to live in, and its army of migrant workers require higher wages to make ends meet.
Yiwu’s inhabitants face a changing China that is trying to reach past the simple mass production that the country’s wealth is built upon.