China releases homemade aircraft carrier-themed merchandise
Published: Jan 07, 2020 12:23 PM

A staff member shows the model of China's first domestically made aircraft carrier Shandong in Beijing on Sunday. Merchandise also includes caps and plate with badge and hull number of the ship. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT



Photo: Li Hao/GT


A new series of merchandise, including caps and building blocks, themed after China's first domestically built aircraft carrier Shandong was released in Beijing on Tuesday.

The merchandise is expected to spread naval culture, inspire patriotism and popularize military knowledge among young Chinese people, which will in turn support Chinese Navy's development, analysts said.

Developed by China Shipbuilding Culture and Technology Co., the Shandong-related merchandise all feature the ship's badge, hull number 17, as well as its name in Chinese characters. The ship is named after East China's Shandong Province.

China Shipbuilding Culture and Technology Co. is a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corp. Ltd., which designed and built China's second aircraft carrier without outside help. 

Xie Dahuan, the designer of the merchandise, hopes the items will allow ordinary people to come in touch with China's naval and aircraft carrier culture. 

"Young Chinese people who follow fashion trends will get a feel for China's naval culture by wearing these exquisitely designed and made caps. Children will get to learn about China-built aircraft carriers through the building blocks," Xie told the Global Times. 

It took Xie's team nearly three years and 28 drafts to finalize the visual languages and designs of logos for the Shandong carrier. 

"Many members of my team are young girls, who had little knowledge of the military," he said. "They can't even tell the difference between the J-15 and F-15, which in their eyes are only fighter planes." 

Xie needed to find a good way to inspire them to learn about China's navy and Chinese soldiers. "China's blockbuster film Operation Red Sea and the performance of China's navy in it, inspired the design team to come up with more ideas and products for young people, allowing them to learn and fall in love with China's naval culture," he said. 

He Qinlin, an associate director of the 701 Research Institute under the China State Shipbuilding Corp. Ltd., said the visual identities of the Shandong carrier's logos and creative merchandise designs were not easier to do than the whole aircraft design.

"These cultural designs and products will make more ordinary people get to know China's first home built aircraft carrier," he said. 

The news has become a hit on Chinese social media platform, Twitter-like Weibo. Many Chinese netizens asked for the links to purchase the Shandong carrier-themed merchandise. 

For now, only one item, the cap, is available at the flagship store of Shandong Carrier Cultural and Creative at China's online shopping platform Xie told the Global Times that more items would be available to order on Tuesday night.  

Many traditional naval powers, like the US and the UK, have released merchandise and other forms of products to promote their naval culture, analysts said, noting that this move can attract younger generations to join naval services or related arms industries, or win a powerful identity in the general public, gaining wider public attention and support.

Japan even makes warships into animation characters to popularize naval culture and military knowledge to young people.

The Shandong-related merchandise is in the right direction, and similar cultural products should be made for China's military so China does not fall behind in this cultural battlefield, military enthusiasts said.