Sports / China

Chinese factory played key role in making World Cup soccer ball

By CHEN HONG in SHENZHEN ( Updated: 2014-06-17 16:35

The sports company adidas Group said its global sales for soccer could hit a record high of 2 billion euros ($2.71 billion) this year thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

"Adidas will be the first brand to break through this 2 billion euros mark, with football performance products alone," said the company in a written statement to China Daily.

The official match ball of the world cup, The Brazuca, features six identical interlocking panels that are thermally bonded to keep out moisture.

"As a result, the ball has a completely seamless surface, ensuring that it will travel more accurately during the game and that rain won’t affect the ball’s performance," the statement said.

The match balls were produced in a factory near Shenzhen.

YaYork Plastic Products Co, a subsidiary of Taipei-based Long Way Enterprises Co, a long-term partner and supplier of adidas since 1997, strictly abides by the agreements with the company to keep The Brazuca’s production line confidential. Visit to the factory are not allowed, and workers are barred from taking mobile phones and cameras into the workshop.

Chen Yushan, legal representative of YaYork, said during the FIFA World Cup in 2010 the company set up a research center specifically for soccer.

It took almost three years for the company to acquire the top technology for The Jabulani, the match ball for 2010 FIFA World Cup, said Chen.

The information from Guangming new district government showed that YaYork was founded in 2001 and has more than 3,000 employees. The company, together with Tu Yu Sports factory, another subsidiary of Long Way, have been the district’s top sports manufacturers.

According to adidas, it spent two and a half years testing Brazuca using 600 players, 30 professional and national teams in 10 countries, making it the most tested ball adidas has ever created. Some of the world’s top players were involved in the process including Leo Messi, Zinedine Zidane and Steven Gerrard as well as non-adidas sponsored players.

Pirated products boom

The Shenzhen Customs has confiscated about 520,000 goods that have violated the copyright of FIFA World Cup since April, with an estimated aggregate value of 1.7 million yuan ($272,000).

During the special action, the customs of Shenzhen strengthened random inspections of the soccer balls, sportswear, shoes and hats as well as souvenirs that were exported to Brazil and other countries in Central and South America.

On April 3, a trade company in Shenzhen applied to export plastic shoes to Malaysia, but the customs inspection found that all the 11,760 pairs of slippers were marked with "FIFA WORD CUP" or "2014 FIFA". Similar products were caught on April 11 and May 6, according to the customs.

The customs' mailing office also ferreted out 65 pirated Nike sportswear items in two parcels bound for Brazil.

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