China’s scandalous mask industry

China's scandalous mask industry 4

In February 2020, when China was engulfed in Covid-19, a socks factory in Zhejiang saw its opportunity.

`There are too many people who want to buy,` said the businessman, who refused to be named, referring to the production lines of medical masks.

`Now with only one machine, our company can only produce 40,000 to 50,000 masks a day. But I’m afraid to invest more because the market is so chaotic now,` he said.

Mask production is a booming industry in China, as countries around the world compete for supplies of personal protective equipment for medical staff who are having to treat Covid-infected people.

A medical mask production line at a company in Tangshan, Hebei, China.

However, the rush to pour capital into this industry has revealed product quality problems for both importers and exporters.

This is a lucrative industry.

That’s why a series of Chinese companies, which produce wound dressings, textiles or even lighting equipment, also jumped in to make masks.

In Jiaxing, the sock manufacturer said it also produces KN95 masks, a Chinese standard mask close to N95.

The China Administration for Industry and Commerce said that medical masks must be produced in an environment free of dust and bacteria, meeting Class 100,000 clean room standards.

There are only about 1,500 companies in China qualified to produce medical masks that meet standards set by the National Medical Products Administration.

`Companies that used to make light bulbs have made some quick improvements to their factories and started making masks. Do you think quality is guaranteed?`, said a headquartered lighting exporter.

One of the many recent product quality scandals is the Netherlands recalling 600,000 KN95 masks purchased from China.

In response, China explained that there was confusion about N95 and KN95 masks.

China is looking for ways to control the quality of its medical products.

Beijing also requires manufacturers of medical masks, testing kits and other medical equipment for export to obtain licenses to sell their products in China from March 31, regardless of whether they are

These measures are also put in place to curb fraudulent practices by some Chinese exporters who falsify certificates so they can sell masks.

`There have been problems in quality inspection of some export products. The Market Management Bureau is supervising inspection agencies and will handle illegal cases,` said Mr. Liu Weijun, who

According to multinational certification company SGS, one of the reasons why Chinese companies cheat on certification is cost and time issues. For example, an appraisal qualifies for a CE score for

A salesperson for SGS’s China branch said it has received more requests from mask manufacturers to apply for EU certification over the past two months.

This also means that only a small group of medical device manufacturers in China have legal certification for export.

Their line in Suzhou has been operating continuously since January 2020 to meet domestic demand.

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