BEILIU, China (Reuters) - A Chinese porcelain manufacturing company has won the order to make the official tableware to be used at the British royal wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton.
Guangxi Sanhuan Group, based in Beiliu, a city in China's southern Guangxi province known locally for its ceramics and porcelain ware, said they came out tops over more than 500 companies bidding to produce royal wedding porcelain, fighting off stiff competition from manufacturers around the globe.
The company is now taxed with producing some 16,000 porcelain tableware products to be used at the wedding.
Company officials said the products are divided into five categories including a dining plate, a coffee cup and saucer set, a commemorative mug and a souvenir plate. They will be either used at the wedding or given to wedding guests as souvenirs.
The design is generally a uniform one featuring a photograph of Prince William and Kate Middleton inside a heart shape with the words "William and Catherine" written below.
"When we won the order, our company bosses were very happy and excited," said Gary Qiu, a marketing manager for the Guangxi Sanhuan Group.
"They paid great attention to it. The entire production process including its preparation was worked on a very tight schedule. Also, we used one of the most advanced kilns in China to make these products."
Established in 1987, Guangxi Sanhuan is a modern Chinese success story -- a once state-owned company that has now gone private, tailoring a reputation of being a quality manufacturer for ceramics and porcelain over the last decade.
It employs more than 8,000 and is known for producing high-end table and dining ware for export to Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia. Qiu said a special high-fire glazing technique is being used to manufacture the wedding porcelain, with the plates and mugs being set at temperatures of more than 1600 degrees C in the kilns.
This will ensure the longevity of the china, a theme the company used in its winning bid for the order.
"As long as this plate is not broken or smashed up, it will never change," Qiu added.
"This fits into our theme for everlasting love and thus with this we give our blessings to the prince and his future wife, as well as to the wedding."
The company is set to finish the production of the porcelain by the middle of January and its workers are pleased by the publicity generated by the order.
"When we knew about this, we felt very happy and very proud," said 31-year-old worker He Kun.
Besides this official order, other Chinese manufacturers have already been cashing in on the royal wedding as they churn out tens of thousands of replica royal engagement rings as well as other imitation wedding memoriabilia that are in demand globally ahead of the April 29 wedding.
Editing by Elaine Lies