TheChinese National Football Team can stop moping over its exclusion from the World Cup as the Pearl River Delta has found a way to represent China at the world’s biggest sporting event: by supplying the tournament’s official footballs and condoms.
While these two products have nothing in common, their production exhibits the Chinese pride that won’t be excluded, qualifying rounds be damned.
The “Samba Glory” from Shenzhen
The footballs used in the previous World Cup came under tremendous scrutiny for providing substandard performance. Called the Jabulani, the ball was criticized by Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano as being “supernatural” and for having unpredictable trajectories. This has led to a high-tech redesign of the official World Cup football—called the Brazuca—that has involved NASA wind tunnels and aerodynamic experts.
However, this official football designed and licensed by Adidas has humble roots, hailing from an undisclosed plastics factory in the Gongming Tianliao Industrial Area on Shenzhen’s west side. In fact, there is so much secrecy at this factory that many of its own workers don’t even know that the official World Cup ball is produced here.
A worker named Ah Ju confirmed to a reporter with the Yangcheng Evening Report that the official World Cup ball is made in a second floor workshop near the main entrance by a small group of ten workers, mostly women. The workers are sworn to secrecy, and the workroom is a restricted area that is sometimes guarded by security.
Even though the high-tech research and development that went into this football was very expensive, the production and labor costs at the “Asian X Plastic Company of Shenzhen” remain low. Workers that make the official World Cup football only earn a monthly wage of RMB 3,000 (US$483), and are expected to work regular overtime and half-days on Saturdays.
Called “Samba Glory” in Chinese, the ball retails for RMB 1,299 (US$209) in China, meaning that workers would only be able to afford to purchase two of the footballs they make every month. However, as Ah Ju points out, progress has been made.
As confirmed by a company representative, the same factory had the honor of making the official football for the last World Cup, which cost RMB 1,080 (US$174). As Ah Ju points out, however, the workers were only earning a monthly wage of RMB 2,000 (US$322) back then, meaning things have improved.
World Cup Condom Kings
Moving on from balls and getting to the meat of the matter, the Pearl River Delta’s other connection to the World Cup is a factory in Guangzhou that supplies another vital product, although one used when games aren’t underway: the condom.
A Guangzhou company named Double One (Shuangyi) has been approved by the Brazilian government to be its sole supplier of condoms, reports Southern Metropolis Daily.
Located in Shuangyi, Huadu District, Double One takes up a total space of 130,000 square meters. The latex factory has eight production lines to meet demand and soon hopes to expand to ten. In fact, Double One has deep roots with the World Cup. Back when South Africa hosted the games in 2010, this same company supplied 35 million condoms.
China is one of the top condom producers in the world. China sold 10 billion condoms in 2012, 25% of all sales in the world at that time.
Brazilians apparently demand high quality condoms, as they were described by the Southern Metropolis Daily as being from an ”extremely sexually-open country”.
Rules for the world’s most popular pastime remain the same: one in the net will end the game.
Photos: Yangcheng Evening Report, Southern Daily, Myactivesg