China has been the most represented nation on the field so far in this year’s World Cup in Brazil despite not even qualifying for the major sporting event.
In fact China has taken the field in every match so far – kind of.
The official ball of the Brazil World Cup, the Brazuca, was created by Adidas and manufactured in a factory in the southern Chinese city, Shenzhen.
The factory is a subsidiary of Long Way Enterprise, a Taipei-based sports gear maker working with Adidas since 1997. It also made the official ball for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, selling 13 million official balls that year.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Lawrence Poon, a Shenzhen-based manager at supplier Long Way said when they see their products on TV, they feel as though they had already scored.
An Adidas spokeswoman also told WSJ that although some of this year’s balls were also made in Pakistan due to high demand, the company frequently went to China because of its skilled workforce, vast network of material suppliers and infrastructure.
It is becoming more obvious that the perceptively cheap, made in China branding of the past is quickly becoming abhorrent with the brand relating itself today with more high quality products.
And when looking at the World Cup, Chinese manufacturers are definitely staking their claim.
The monotone drone of the unforgettable Vuvuzelas at the previous South African event were also made in China. While they were only fundamentally a cheap, plastic tube, in 2010 around the time of the World Cup the sales of the horns reportedly were worth around $6.5million. About 90 per cent of these were claimed to have been made in China.
Simon Lee is president of Wagon Group, the Taiwanese-owned Chinese company responsible for 80% of the officially licensed World Cup souvenirs. He told WSJ that Wagon has already produced more than 8 million World Cup-related items for the Brazil event compared to about 2 million for the 2010 event.
“The term ‘Made in China’ is slowly becoming the definition of high-quality, even though it wasn’t the case in the past,” Mr Lee said.