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China's Christmas city loses its seasonal cheer

At the Yiwu Fuye Christmas factory in eastern China, workers are gearing up for the holiday season -- assembling Santa Claus figurines to the jingle of Christmas carols.

Yiwu is the Santa's workshop of China, a city dedicated to Christmas cheer all year round, showrooms lined wall to wall and stores that deliver decorations to destinations all around the world.

According to state broadcaster CCTV -- the city produces 80% of the world's Christmas goods exported globally.

But this year the decorations are piling up in the factory instead, as consumer demand plunges.

Factory boss Jin Zhixun:

"Because of the health crisis, orders for this year decreased a lot. In terms of our number of new clients, they basically haven't increased this year. And orders from our usual clients have been cut in half."

Normally operations at Jin's factory would be in full swing, with workers scrambling to send products abroad by October.

But with international travel all but halted and no customers visiting the city's Christmas markets, they've struggled to find other buyers.

The elaborate displays are typically designed to attract clients from as far away as the United States and Brazil, who usually descend on Yiwu in the summer months to make bulk orders for the holiday season.

China Market Research Group analyst Ben Cavender explains:

"I think overall it's fair to say that probably the entire business is down by half. I think if you look at what's happened, most of the business that runs through Yiwu is still done face-to-face, so you have big buyers coming to visit the market and make face-to-face deals with the vendors. They can't do that this year because nobody can travel to China."

And since Christmas isn't traditionally celebrated within China itself, there remains little interest in the business from domestic e-commerce companies -- leaving the city's vendors and manufacturers worried about losing their seasonal cheer.