Heightened publicity efforts enabled companies to provide the majority of premiums, and sports and stadium equipment for the games.
China may not be playing at the 19th FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but its presence is widely felt. From the soccer balls used in the competition to the uniforms and various promotional products, the country supplied them all.
Months before the tournament kicked off, China manufacturers undertook intensive campaigns to attract orders. Companies with strong production and R&D capability began marketing in-house designed soccer equipment and merchandise, including stadium chairs, fan wigs and LED displays. Some models even carried in-house brands.
Smaller factories started highlighting World Cup related products on their websites or emphasizing their experience in exporting to South Africa to generate interest.
Still others took an indirect route and catered to OEM buyers in the EU and the US, supplying them with promotional goods such as bugles, masks and scarves.
As a result, the majority of balls used in the tournament come from an 8,000-worker, Taiwan-invested factory in Jiangxi province. Roughly 80 percent of the vuvuzelas or stadium horns are also made in mainland China.
Healthy exports in months leading to games
The intensive marketing efforts have paid off for most companies offering professional and promotional gear for the tournament.
Overseas sales of stadium chairs at Zhejiang Dafeng Sports Equipment Co. Ltd, for instance, grew 30 percent in 2009, when all orders for the World Cup were shipped out. The professional sports equipment manufacturer used imported LG plastic for and adjusted material composition to improve density and resistance to aging, high and low temperature (-50 to 75 C), and corrosion. The chairs passed 2,500-hour illumination, wind and rain tests to ensure safety and durability even at the hands of overzealous fans.
The 45,800 chairs made for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium are all marked with Zhejiang Dafeng's in-house brand. The company has assigned staff members to be on standby at the stadium to install and test the products, and replace defective or broken chairs.
Publicly listed maker Henan Rebecca Hair Products Inc. started designing wigs featuring the flags of participating countries late last year. Exports for Q1 2010 reached $53.6 million, up 27 percent year on year. More than 20 percent came from sales to Africa.
Vinbo Industrial Ltd's outbound shipments rose 5 to 10 percent in Q1 2010. Roughly 2 percent is attributed to World Cup-related transactions. The company only started exporting bugles, soccer balls and other types of promotional items for the games in March this year.
The LED displays Shenzhen SBC Photoelectricity Co. Ltd sent to the World Cup all carry the in-house brand. These are assembled in an anti-static, dust-free workshop. Each module is age-tested for 72 hours and re-evaluated for signal stability.
This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.