US election flags up profits for firms

By Xie Jun and Chi Jingyi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/6 20:03:41

Factories sense opportunity as Biden products outsell Trump's

An owner of a flag shop in Yiwu's Futian market displays a Donald Trump 2020 presidential election flag. Many Chinese plants received surging orders for US presidential election flags recently but they also face problems like surging shipping fee. Photo: Yang Hui/GT

At a time when the Trump administration is cracking down on Chinese companies and trying to vitalize the US manufacturing industry, it is ironic that the US still needs to resort to China-based plants to churn out flags for the 2020 US presidential election. 

Now, as the US election draws near, flag manufacturers concentrated in East China's Zhejiang Province have received growing orders, and the number of Chinese factories making US presidential election flags is increasing, several Chinese flag makers told the Global Times Thursday. 

Wufu Flag plant in Yongkang of East China's Zhejiang Province said that it sold about 33,000 yuan ($4,752) worth of 2020 US presidential election promotional flags in July. 

Of them, about 45 percent are for US President Donald Trump's campaign, while the rest is for his Democrat rival Joe Biden, according to figures shown by Wufu's production manager Lü Changchun to the Global Times Thursday. 

"Sales for election flags hit rock bottom around March, but orders have resurged lately, and we expect orders to peak in September and October," Lü said. He said that the factory has received more orders for US presidential election flags than four years ago, when Trump was competing with Hillary Clinton for the White House. 

In particular, Wufu's business was buoyed by a surge in orders for Joe Biden's election campaign. According to materials provided by the plant, sales revenues for Biden election flags surged more than three times in April compared with March, while the revenue for Trump flags was roughly unchanged during the period. 

Zou Xia, sales manager of Guangzhou Huifeng Flag, which has been making flags for the last 25 years, said they received a "huge" order for Biden election flags in July. 

"We made 100,000 flags in 10 days for the order," Zou told the Global Times Thursday. 

Li Hong, manager of Sahong Industry and Trade Co, also in Yongkang, said that orders for 2020 US presidential election flags witnessed a sudden surge starting in May. On average his plant has received orders for tens of thousands of US presidential election flags every month. 

"Actually we don't know the reason for the change," he said, saying that about 70 percent of the orders are for Trump's reelection promotional use. 

As the demand for made-in-China flags grew, many Chinese businesspeople have sensed the business opportunity and shifted from making flags for domestic customers to making US election-use flags. 

According to Lü, more Chinese factories are manufacturing US presidential election flags, making the industry more competitive than the past. 

"As the pandemic has caused many international and domestic events to be canceled, flag makers' orders are dwindling. This is forcing them to pay attention to the 2020 US presidential election campaign which brings along huge demands for flags and other peripheral products," Lü said. 

But not everyone is making money over the business, and some said there were obstacles such as rising transportation fees.

Yao Dandan, general manager of flag plant Shaoxing Jiahao Handicraft, said that the company sold few presidential election flags this year.

"Our customers say that international freight costs are more expensive than  previous years," Yao Dandan told the Global Times, adding that the plant sold about 4,000 Trump election-use flags this year. 

Li Lan, which owns a flag selling booth in the Yiwu-based Futian market, also said that the pandemic has caused shipping fees to almost double, which she figured might be the reason why overseas clients refrained from making orders this year. 

Global Times


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