World

Chinese factory flies British flag after queen’s death

SHAOXING, China – Ninety minutes after Queen Elizabeth II died, orders for thousands of British flags began flooding a factory south of Shanghai.

More than 100 employees at Shaoxing Chuangdong Tour Articles Co. took another job and spent 14 hours a day starting at 7:30 a.m. doing nothing but British themed flags.

According to general manager Fan Aiping, they grossed at least 500,000 in the first week.

Some are British flags that are sent off or hung outside homes. Others show portraits of Elizabeth and her birth and death years. They are 21 to 150 centimeters (8 to 59 inches) wide and wholesale for about 7 yuan ($1) each.

The first customer submitted an order at 3 a.m. China time for tens of thousands, according to Fan. She said 20,000 units in the factory’s inventory were sent out that morning.

“Customers came directly to our factory to pick up products,” Fan said. “Many flags are not even packaged. They were put in a box and shipped.”

The factory produced flags for the soccer World Cup before Elizabeth passed away.

Chuangdong has been involved in this industry since 2005 and produces flags for the World Cup and other sporting events or national day celebrations. It also makes sports themed scarves and banners.

Employees pay attention to news about events that can bring orders.

“There is a business opportunity behind every news event,” says Fan.

Ni Guozhen, an employee since 2005, said she learned about the world through her work.

“I learned a lot about current events,” said Ni, who is sewing flags featuring the queen’s portrait. “My knowledge has grown. So I’m proud and happy that I’m doing chess.”

Ni remembers filling out orders for British themed flags for a royal wedding.

“There is a story behind every flag,” Fan said. “This time about the queen in Great Britain. They are buying these flags to mourn the queen.”

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Associated Press video producer Caroline Chen contributed to this report.

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