BY GARTH WILSON
Just months before the Olympics, the Beijing Olympic Committee has realised the Games do not have a sponsor promoting China’s One Child Policy.
Considering a record 66 sponsors, including two official providers of beer, the omission is remarkable.
But now the hunt is on for a Beijing 2008 official supplier of condoms to provide prophylactics for the Olympic Village.
Chinese estimates put the number of condoms needed at around 130,000, consistent with the number supplied in Athens. This allows each Olympic Villager the use of 10 condoms during the competition period.
For the Sydney Olympics sponsors provided the Olympic Village with 50,000 condoms but despite an emergency shipment of a further 20,000 during competition, supplies ran out days before the closing ceremony.
Beijing’s sponsorship is likely to be awarded to Jissbon Condoms, a Wuhan’based company that is one of China’s most trusted domestic brands, and was mentioned frequently during committee meetings.
The company was registered in Wuhan, in central China, 10 years ago. At the time, its condoms sold for two or three yuan each while international brands like Durex sold for 10 times that price. To compete with international brands, the company reregistered itself in Britain and then registered a company in Hong Kong ‘ to be known as the British company’s Far East Office.
During the 1990s, the most famous Britons in China were the Queen and James Bond, so the company chose to brand its condoms with Bond’s Chinese sobriquet, ‘Jie Shi Bang’. The name Jissbon came later as a transliteration of the Chinese.
The Bond-branded condoms re-entered the market as a British product and have since become China’s leading brand. Their sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics is expected to cement this position in a market where family planning is compulsory.