If you need another reminder of China’s manufacturing omnipresence, just turn on your TV for any World Cup match.
That incessant drone that sounds like a swarm of bees crossed with elephants? Made in China.
South Africans may have inspired the vuvuzela — the horn that, when sounded by hundreds of thousands of soccer fans, has irritated people the world over — but it’s the Chinese who can make millions of them for about 30 cents apiece and have them shipped to your shores in weeks.
Industry officials say about 90% of the world’s vuvuzelas are produced in two coastal provinces: Guangdong and Zhejiang.
Most manufacturers called them “fan horns” until recently, when Chinese state TV christened the horns with a name Chinese speakers could get their tongues around, wuwuzula.
Though Chinese factories have been molding the horns in small numbers for years, everything changed last fall when massive orders started streaming in from South Africa.