Thousands of Chinese Companies Expand Their Business Scope to Include Medical Supplies Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

February 10, 2020 Updated: February 14, 2020
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As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in mainland China, face masks have become a commodity of high demand. Many Chinese companies have added the production or sale of masks in their business operations.

A recent survey conducted by Tianyancha, a business data search firm, shows that from Jan. 1 to Feb. 7, more than 3,000 enterprises added masks, protective suits for medical use, disinfectants, thermometer, and other medical devices into their business operations.

Many of these companies did not have any previous experience making or selling medical or health related commodities at all. Based on the survey results, 64 industries have added a new business category to include the production or sales of these health products. Retail and wholesale businesses topped the list, accounting for more than half of the total, followed by business services. Research, laboratory, health and technical services also made the top 10 list.

In terms of geographical distribution, Guangdong Province ranks first, with 414 companies adding medical devices as a new category, followed by Beijing, Shandong, Jiangsu and Henan provinces.

China’s petrochemicals giant Sinopec has docked with its business partners to complete 11 mask production lines and will soon enter into the equipment installation process.

Foxconn group introduced a production line of masks for the first time in Shenzhen, and production was formally started on Feb. 5.

A supplier of SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile also restructured its production line to make masks.

BYD Auto’s subsidiary company, Shanwei BYD Industrial Company, has added disinfectant to its business scope. BYD will have the first batch of health products by Feb. 17, and its projected output is 5 million masks and 50,000 bottles of disinfectants every day by the end of February until the outbreak is alleviated or eliminated.

As a baby diaper manufacturer, Daddy’s Baby has also joined the mask production line. Production plans call for the company to produce between 2 million and 2.5 million masks a day by the end of February.

The Wuhan coronavirus is still spreading. With a lack of basic understanding of the virus, there is no way to predict when the outbreak will start to decline.

Meanwhile, many Chinese factories have resumed operations, and many workers have begun to return to work on Feb. 10.