As England and the world mourned, a factory in China was overrun by an avalanche of orders for flags commemorating the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Customers began placing rush orders with Shaoxing Chuangdong Tour Articles Company, demanding flag deliveries within 90 minutes of news of the Queen’s death.
Workers at the factory near Shanghai put all other work aside and made 14-hour days as the factory switched to making only British-themed flags.
According to general manager Fan Aiping, there were at least 500,000 in the first week.
Some are British flags to be carried by mourners or hung outside homes. Others show Elizabeth’s portrait and the years of her birth and death. They range from 21 to 150 centimeters wide and retail for about 7 yuan ($A1.50) each.
According to Fan, the first customer sent an order for tens of thousands at 3 a.m. Chinese time. She said the 20,000 the factory had in stock were shipped that morning.
“The customer came directly to our factory to get the products,” Fan said. “Many of the flags weren’t even packaged. They were boxed and sent away.”
World Cup orders pushed aside
The factory made flags for the World Cup before Elizabeth’s death.
Chuangdong has been in the industry since 2005, producing flags for the World Cup and other sporting events or national celebrations. It also makes sports themed scarves and banners.
Employees keep an eye out for news for events that could bring orders.
“There is a business opportunity behind every news event,” Fan said.
Ni Guozhen, an employee since 2005, said she got to know the world through her work.
“I learned a lot about current affairs,” said Ni, who was sewing flags with the queen’s portrait. “My knowledge has grown. That is why I am proud and happy to make flags.”
Ni remembers filling orders for British-themed flags for a royal wedding.
“There’s a story behind every flag,” Fan said. “This time it’s about the Queen in the United Kingdom. They buy these flags to deeply mourn the Queen.”