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World Cup flags frenzy, and business, in China
 

BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Li Xiaomei knows little of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but she has been infected by the World Cup fervor that's sweeping the globe all the same.

Li sells flags of different nations at a trade center in Zhejiang Province's Yiwu, the world's leading wholesale market of small commodities, including toys, souvenirs, stationery and more.

"I have to watch results to decide which countries' flags to order," she said.

Since last year, Li has received huge orders from Chinese and foreign clients for flags of football superpowers, including Spain, Brazil, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, England, France, Portugal and Argentina, as well as host country South Africa.

For at least a year, the World Cup, which opened in Johannesburg on Friday, has spurred Chinese people and proved a gold mine for many businesses in Yiwu.

From jerseys and sneakers to footballs and even wigs matching the colors of national flags, merchants in Yiwu have embraced an unprecedented buying spree from home and abroad.

"Sometimes we run out of supplies," said Zhu Haiyan, whose store sells sports jerseys and socks.

"Just last week, an Arab client ordered 5,000 jerseys of the Brazilian team because he couldn't wait."

Weird posting

Many Chinese fans are buying the outfits of their favorite teams - and fighting the time difference to stay awake after midnight.

An outrageous posting has spread on the Internet and via mobile phones about the "dos and don'ts" during the Cup.

The tongue-in-cheek posting, written in the first person and obviously by a man, said women should leave husbands alone during the games.

"Everything belongs to you: the house, the bed, the child, the dog and all the housework," it said.

"But the TV is mine and football is its only program. If you want to watch TV, do wait until after 4am.

"Do study some football basics if you still want to have a word with me. Otherwise, stay away from the TV. If you really have to pass the screen, do crawl on the floor instead of blocking my sight.

"Do make sure to store enough food and beer for me and my friends.

"Don't tell me I've witnessed that goal - I need to relive those exciting moments again and again."

At least one woman has not taken the posting literally.

"I'll watch some of the games with my husband," said Wang Yan, a Beijing accountant.

"When I get bored, I'll just sleep or join my girlfriends for a chat or karaoke."

Online forums of leading Chinese portal Websites keep updating the posting with basics of the World Cup and all participating teams, to keep lonesome wives - dubbed "football widows" - from feeling bitter and twisted.

"Say you love the Spanish team for its aggressiveness on the field, not its handsome players," was a piece of most frequently quoted advice.

(Source: Shanghai Daily)



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