INTERVIEWED BY JINHUA DAILY in March 2016, Said Bahaji, a trader from Jordan, spoke with enthusiasm of Yiwu 义乌, a county-level city in eastern Zhejiang province: ‘Yiwu is an amazing place, a land of opportunity where we can achieve our Chinese dream’. Said Bahaji is one of about 4,000 traders from North Africa and the Middle East who have settled down in Yiwu, in pursuit of their own ‘Chinese dreams’. Playing the role of intermediaries, these ‘Arab Traders’ help buyers from all over the world, but especially from their region, search for and buy products in Yiwu and elsewhere in China. Their businesses and personal stories have recently become the focus of Chinese media attention as a result of the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, which emphasises ‘people-to-people’ bonds (in addition to the more common focus on infrastructure). However, the connection of these Arab traders with Yiwu predates the launch of this policy.