China makes presence at World Cup

Updated: 2014-06-23 06:30

By JI YE in Rio de Janeiro (China Daily Latin America)

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Even though the Chinese soccer team again failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country will still have a strong presence at soccer's most prestigious competition.

"Made in China" will adorn many products affiliated with the tourney while a Chinese company is the first renewable-energy company to become an official sponsor.

Yingli Solar, one of the world's largest vertically integrated photovoltaic module manufacturers, headquartered in Baoding, Hebei province, is the first and sole Chinese company to sponsor the World Cup.

In all 64 World Cup matches and in each of the 12 host stadiums, eight minutes of advertising time has been allocated to Yingli Solar to promote its brand. As the first renewable-energy company to become a sponsor in the World Cup, Yingli Solar answered FIFA's call to make the world's most popular sport not only a celebration of the game but also a sign of respect for the planet.

For the first time, the World Cup Final will be powered by solar energy as Yingli Solar panels are now powering Arena Pernambuco and the Maracana stadium.

A number of Chinese companies have been involved in making products for the event. The World Cup has been great for Yiwu, Zhejiang province, the world's largest wholesale center for products and accessories.

As the soccer extravaganza drew near, factories continuously received overseas orders, mainly from European and South American countries. "Since April last year, we have sold nearly 2 million caxirolas," said Wu Xiaogang, manager of a company, which produces the percussion instrument for the World Cup.

Compared to the vuvuzela at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the profit on each caxirola is more than double. It is estimated that around 90 percent of caxirolas worldwide are produced in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.

In the first five months, Yiwu's exports to Brazil totaled $160 million, up 31.4 percent year-over-year. Exports of sports commodities to Brazil were $2.78 million, up 42 percent from the same period last year.

Kayford Holdings Ltd is the only licensee outside of Brazil for mascot and 3D figurines for the World Cup. The company has designed nearly 100 types of products in five categories for the mascot series and sold more than 1 million of its mascot products to 39 countries.

"We have the final say on the pricing of the 3D figurines," said Li Hong, president of Hangzhou Landward, the parent company.

China's Nuctech provides nine of the 12 stadiums with security inspection equipment and services. The nine venues include Arena de Sao Paulo, scene of the opening ceremony and Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the final.

About 600 advanced security inspection equipment packages from Nuctech help screeners easily identify hazardous materials through clear imaging.

A subway unit developed by China's CNR Corporation Ltd helps to ferry the public between Rio's central station and Maracana Stadium. Comprised of four carriages, the train is capable of carrying 1,300 people at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour. 

"With the 2016 Rio Olympics, 80 percent of the public transportation vehicles will be supplied by China," said Wang Yong, chief engineer of CNR.

Six foreign players from the Chinese Soccer League are now playing for teams in the Cup.

No matter how many Chinese products are seen at the World Cup, what Chinese fans want most is for the Chinese team to qualify for the event. For the third time in a row, China failed to qualify for this year's Cup. In its only World Cup appearance in 2002, China lost all three games, giving up 9 goals and scoring none. 

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