'Printing Money': Booming Mask Producers In China Meet Global Demand
Beijing, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Mar, 2020 ) :As the coronavirus pandemic that originated in a central Chinese city has gone global, thousands of factories in China have nimbly turned to a new and very profitable market -- face masks for export.
The factory, with five production lines in northeastern China, made the much-needed N95 face masks which were in huge demand as infection numbers surged.
As cases in the country have dwindled, the 34-year-old -- who was previously in pharmaceuticals -- is now profiting from new markets and exporting masks to Italy, where the death toll has overtaken that of China.
Globally more than 400,000 have been infected with the deadly coronavirus, and demand for protective equipment is still soaring as nations across the globe battle the outbreak.
"A mask machine is a real cash printer," said Shi Xinghui, sales manager of an N95 mask machine company in Dongguan city, southeastern Guangdong province. "The profit of a mask now is at least several cents compared to less than one in the past.
"Printing 60,000 or 70,000 masks a day is equivalent to printing money." Qi Guangtu has put more than 50 million Yuan ($7 million) into his factory producing mask-making machines in the southern industrial hub of Dongguan.
"Cost recovery is certainly not a problem," he said, adding that 70 sets of equipment have been sold for more than 500,000 yuan ($71,000) each.
"The machines pay for themselves in 15 days, " said Qi, saying the investment is worth it for his clients.
- Rising costs and blind investment - Manufacturer You Lixin had never set foot in a mask factory before.
"I slept two or three hours a day, so did my clients," he said.
You's clients also slept in his plant, waiting desperately to collect their new machinery.
Some of them are garment factory owners in Wenzhou, eastern Zhejiang province, who had switched to producing face masks.
"They were facing orders they had insufficient capacity to deliver, and they couldn't make the deliveries," You said.
"The panic intensified as the crisis accelerated at that time." The high levels of mask production has dramatically pushed up prices for raw materials.
Finally, to pay an expert tester for the mask machines, Liao paid more than ten times the normal price.
"Investment is blind now," You said.
"The demand for masks has been alleviated at home -- now we can have some surplus to support other countries," said Liao.
"We are willing to help others." And Guan is optimistic about the future of the industry beyond the outbreak.
"Most people will have the habit wearing a mask after this outbreak," said Guan.
"I'll stay in the industry."