The coronavirus pandemic’s onset led to the development of tens of thousands of mask-producing companies across China. However, the recent implementation for stricter quality control measures and falling domestic demand has caused many to struggle.
To meet shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 73,000 mask-making companies emerged in the first half of 2020, including 36,000 new companies registered in April alone, Channel News Asia reports.
With escalating prices and demand for masks, automotive firms and diaper producers began to repurpose production lines to manufacture masks. However, shifting production lines from cars to medical masks led to reductions in quality and higher risk of scams.
Following complaints from overseas regarding poor standards, Chinese authorities started demanding official quality certifications from producers who wanted to export masks. This extra compliance has affected many as some scramble to stay in the market, while others flee from the industry.
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“Our company has several business lines, we stepped up the production of masks when the pandemic hit China, but we will shift back to our other production lines in the future,” said Xu, a sales director at a medical manufacturing company in northern Hebei province.
Now that the number of coronavirus cases have eased in China, domestic demand for masks has also fallen significantly, resulting in price drops.
Xu’s company currently sells masks for RMB0.4, only a quarter of the price they sold for at the peak of China’s outbreak in early 2020.
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[Cover Image via @人民网英文版/Weibo]