Chi­nese fac­tory to sus­pend work, make cups for autis­tic boy

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU MO in Dong­guan, Guang­dong sally@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

A Chi­nese fac­tory is partly shut­ting down its nor­mal busi­ness to help an autis­tic British teen by mak­ing a tod­dlers’ cup that he is de­pen­dent on, but which has long been out of pro­duc­tion.

Jackel China, in Dong­guan, Guang­dong prov­ince, will halt the nor­mal op­er­a­tion of three of its ma­chines for two to three days. They will be used to make 500 to 1,000 blue-green Tom­mee Tippee cups. The teen’s dad, Marc Carter, said it is the only cup his autis­tic son Ben will drink from. The cup used by 14-year-old Ben was pur­chased 12 years ago and is now worn out. His father is­sued an ap­peal to find a re­place­ment.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing of the two-han­dled cup was halted in 2003. It was orig­i­nally pro­duced by Jackel China un­der con­tract from UK-based May­born Group, which was ac­quired by Shang­hai Jahwa (Group) Co in April.

Cather­ine Lee, the com­pany’s head of Asia op­er­a­tions and pro­cure­ment, said she heard of Ben’s story on the in­ter­net and also from her col­leagues in the UK. “It only took us two days to make the de­ci­sion and we man­aged to pro­duce 50 sam­ples within 10 days,” Lee said. “We are re­ally happy to do the job. It is some­thing full of love and with great value.” She said sam­ples have been sent to Ben’s father, who will check the color. Once con­firmed, the fac­tory will be­gin pro­duc­tion. The spe­cial or­der is to take a week, and the com­pany will pick up the 20,000 yuan ($2,900) cost. “We hope to send those cups to Ben on Christ­mas Day or on New Year’s Day as a gift for him.”

Zhu Ying­ming, em­ployed by the fac­tory for 14 years, said he was proud to play a part in the cam­paign. “I could still re­mem­ber the cup’s ap­pear­ance when I was told to search for its mold in our ware­house. It only took me 20 min­utes to find it among more than 1,000 molds,” he said.

Many Chi­nese ne­ti­zens have praised the com­pany for spread­ing “pos­i­tive en­ergy”.

“Al­though cost of the cups is not high, the cam­paign plays an ac­tive role in en­hanc­ing our coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional im­age. Mean­while, there are many autis­tic chil­dren in China. We need also to pay more at­ten­tion to them,” user Xi­wohouLV posted on­line. Ben’s father Marc tweeted last week: “Can’t be­lieve Tom­mee Tippee have man­aged to find the mold and are go­ing to make me so many. They have been truly in­cred­i­ble, such a gen­uinely lovely and car­ing team.”

"Al­though cost of the cups is not high, the cam­paign plays an ac­tive role in en­hanc­ing our coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional im­age.” Xi­wohouLV, an on­line user

ZHOU MO / CHINA DAILY

A worker makes cups at Jackel China, in Guang­dong on Tues­day. The com­pany will shut down nor­mal pro­duc­tion to make spe­cial cups needed by an autis­tic teen in the UK.

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