Still a couple months to go before it’s Christmas, but for Christmas decoration factories and retailers in China, it starts as earliest as July and ends in late September, when massive orders from around the world arrive in Yiwu, located 300 km (185 miles) south of Shanghai in the prosperous Zhejiang province. Orders come from places as far away as Europe, the United States and South America. This year, European demand for Christmas goods has dropped sharply, local vendors said. One estimated European orders were down 20 percent from last year, while another said his European orders had fallen by 40 percent.

Early Christmas in China this Year

Employee works to make plastic Christmas trees at Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Employee makes plastic Christmas trees at the Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Boxes with plastic Christmas trees for Russian market are seen at Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

An employee makes plastic Christmas trees at the Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Employee pushes cart with plastic Christmas trees at the Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Employee makes plastic Christmas trees at the Zhongsheng Christmas Crafts factory in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Woman walks under rain near an inflatable Santa Claus at a commercial area in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Woman works on computer at Christmas decoration shop in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Christmas decoration shop is seen at a commercial area in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Plastic Santa Claus toys are seen at Christmas shop in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Vendor stands at entrance of his Christmas decoration shop next to plastic Santa Claus toys in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Malharoblishvki from Georgia buys Christmas decorations at a commercial area in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Man past Christmas decoration commercial area in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Vendor smokes next to inflatable Santa Claus outside of his Christmas decoration shop in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Early Christmas in China this Year

Shi stands at his shop in Yiwu. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

Sep 17, 2012