The vuvuzelas providing the ear-splitting soundtrack for the World Cup in South Africa are proving a gold mine for manufacturers in China, and a hit with buyers there.
Sales of the braying plastic horns both in China and other parts of the world have soared, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand and supplies selling out on some Chinese Web sites.
China’s state-run Global Times said nearly 90 percent of South Africa’s vuvuzelas — whose bee-swarm buzz at World Cup matches has triggered complaints from fans, players and broadcasters alike — are produced in China.
One company, the Jiying Plastic Product Corp. based in the eastern province of Zhejiang, sold more than a million of the horns in the first four months of the year, mainly to South Africa, and the orders keep coming in.
“We plan to produce 300,000 to 500,000 more through the end of the World Cup,” said Wu Yijun, the firm’s general manager.
The company produces 37 types of vuvuzela, at a wholesale price of about 2 yuan (29 US cents) apiece, he said. Chinese fans and merchants are also getting into the craze.
“Starting from May, we received domestic orders for about 150,000 vuvuzelas. Before that, all the vuvuzelas we produced were for export,” Wu said.
“The World Cup frenzy has greatly driven our business, and we expect revenue will jump more than 100 percent this year from a year earlier.”
According to Huicong Plastic, a Chinese Web site that provides news on the plastics industry, manufacturers in toy-making hub Chenghai in the southern province of Guangdong have made “several million” vuvuzelas.
Chenghai toy manufacturers were quoted as saying that factories were working overtime to meet World Cup demand.