Now for Lin-signia as fans go crazy for shirts
Mimi Lau in Guangzhou, Jennifer Cheng and Jennifer Ngo
Hongkongers will be able to buy authorised T-shirts bearing the name of basketball sensation Jeremy Lin from Monday.
The meteoric rise of the New York Knicks player and the ensuing 'Linsanity' has created a feverish demand for his merchandise.
Even as the sportswear brands Adidas, Unk and Majestic pledge to deliver the goods, knock-off Lin No17 jerseys and T-shirts are already appearing at Hong Kong street markets, thanks to mainland factories.
Wong Chi-kit, who owns a store selling NBA gear in Mong Kok, described Linsanity as a never-before-seen phenomenon. 'Even when Yao Ming was big, I never saw such excitement from customers,' he said.
US-born Taiwanese-American Lin, 23, who plays point guard for the Knicks, wowed basketball fans around the world after coming off the reserves bench to lead his team to victory game after game.
'You may start seeing authentic Adidas NBA jerseys arriving in Hong Kong soon, but you will notice the name has been printed on for mass production,' Wong said. 'Some die-hard fans would want the real jersey that players wear on the court - and those names are stitched on.'
Such on-court jerseys can only be produced by Adidas. These would be out in May in the US, Wong said, adding T-shirts available from Monday would cost from HK$199 to HK$299.
At the Ladies Market, knock-off Jeremy Lin tops were on sale for HK$250 each.
On the mainland, retailers on the largest retail website, Taobao.com, say even factories producing the knock-offs are sold out.
One Guangzhou-based Taobao seller said he began selling copies of Lin's Knicks jersey two weeks ago and was taking pre-paid orders only. 'There is hardly any jersey or T-shirt available in stock in all the online shops. Most are selling via pre-paid orders,' he said. He was getting 100 orders a day but knew some of his rivals were getting 400, all pre-paid.
'Every customer is so eager to get their hands on a piece of Lin. We are also pushing for quicker delivery and the factories are also pushing for speedy production.
'Linsanity arose suddenly and caught everyone off guard.'
Southern Metropolis News reported that 80 per cent of orders at some garment factories in Zhongshan were for knock-off Linsanity T-shirts. Factories in Jiangsu and Shandong have also set up Taobao shops selling Lin jerseys.