Written by: Li Yinglin, Chen Runnan
2020-03-25 21:00Last updated: 2020-03-25 21:00
The outbreak of the new crown pneumonia outbreak, many Hong Kong people set up factories to produce masks locally, and many factories have recently been put into production. According to the statistics of the public data of various mask factories, in theory, the highest total mask production in May could reach 82.5 million masks, except that on the 31st, it reached 2.66 million daily, which is enough for 36% of Hong Kong people to wear a mask daily.
The total number of employed people in Hong Kong is about 3.77 million. If the education and medical industries are deducted, based on 20 working days, local production of masks may be able to catch up with the needs of "wage earners".
However, the supply of meltblown nonwovens, which is one of the raw materials for making masks, is still not stable, and it has cast a shadow on the production of masks. Some scholars believe that meltblown nonwovens have become strategic materials in the epidemic, and the Hong Kong government must provide assistance in local production.
After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, commonly known as Wuhan pneumonia, the global supply of masks has been in short supply. Can the supply of local production masks meet local needs? The reporter compared the expected supply of local mask manufacturers in May, and estimated the demand for masks required by local employed people to work, and tried to find out.
16 local factories produce up to 82.5 million masks in May
At present, there are nearly 20 institutions in Hong Kong. They have announced that they are setting up factories in the local area and are preparing to produce masks. Some of them have been "turned on" and put into production. Excluding controversial and unannounced monthly production capacity companies, "Hong Kong 01" lists 16 local mask factories that are ready for production or are still building plants, and accept the interviews of "Hong Kong 01" and other media according to each factory , Announced the highest production capacity, statistics on Hong Kong's mask production in May. The calculation also includes CSI masks manufactured by the Correctional Services Department and for the civil service only. As of May this year, the number of masks produced in Hong Kong can reach 82.5 million per month. (See below for details)
According to the current maximum production statistics claimed by various mask factories, the maximum mask production in Hong Kong in May may reach 82.5 million. (Hong Kong 01 drawing)
Daily output reaches 2.66 million.
On the demand side, according to figures from the Census and Statistics Department, from December last year to February this year, Hong Kong employed about 3.77 million people. Among the employed population, about 70,000 teachers are currently working from home, and there is no hope of resuming classes in the short term, so there is no need to go out to work to wear masks. Surgical masks used by the medical staff of the Hospital Authority during their work are procured and provided by the Bureau. . After deducting 57,000 people in direct patient care and 70,000 teachers from the HA's 2018-19 report, it is estimated that there are about 3.64 million people in Hong Kong who actually need to go out to work and purchase their own masks.
According to figures from the Government Statistics Department, from December 2019 to February 2020, there were about 3.77 million employed people in Hong Kong. (Website of the Census and Statistics Department)
Based on this calculation, 3.64 million working people, such as using only one mask daily. The number of masks produced per month is 82.5 million. Except May, there are 20 working days, which means that the daily supply is 4.125 million masks. Therefore, in theory, Hong Kong ’s mask output in May may already be able to catch up with the working population for a month. However, the above estimates are based on the maximum output of the plant, and many manufacturers still report that the key raw material for masks, meltblown cloth, is in short supply. (See below for details)
After deducting the education and medical industry, the number of people who need to go out to work is about 3.64 million, and the mask output in Hong Kong in May may be able to catch up with the demand of wage earners for a month. (Hong Kong 01 drawing)
It is difficult to find the factory. It is difficult for Hong Kong companies to produce raw materials.
Professor Hu Jinlian, Department of Biomedical Engineering, City University, who is familiar with meltblown cloth production, said that after receiving an interview with "Hong Kong 01" in mid-March, he received about 20 external inquiries, including those from listed companies and local mask factories. They reflected that major problems were encountered in purchasing meltblown cloth from other places, including fake meltblown cloth, poor quality, and high prices. She said that some businesses have considered the local production of meltblown cloth, but failed to find a suitable factory building, and the investment amount was tens of millions, so the plan was not implemented. She believes that to ensure the production of masks in Hong Kong, we must first ensure that the production and supply of high-quality meltblown cloth is stable. According to the analysis of the current situation, if the meltblown cloth is to be produced locally, the support of the Hong Kong government is necessary.
According to statistics, the supply of masks in Hong Kong in May looks stable, but many manufacturers report that insufficient supply of mask raw material meltblown cloth may affect production. Professor Hu Jinlian, Department of Biomedical Engineering, City University believes that Hong Kong government's support is needed to produce meltblown cloth locally. (Photo by Lu Yiming / Profile picture)
In addition, a number of local mask factories are still preparing factories, including the Hong Kong Zihua Oil Pharmaceutical Factory. Xu Shaowen, managing director of the pharmaceutical factory, pointed out that the company had planned to expand the factory building and dust-free space last year, just in case of the epidemic situation and mask shortage at the beginning of the year. The pharmaceutical factory invested 7 million Hong Kong dollars to prepare to set up two mask production lines in Hong Kong. Xu Zhi said that the clean room project is still underway. It is estimated that 8 million masks can be produced per month after it is put into production in May.
Xu Shaowen, the managing director of Hong Kong Zihua Oil Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., said that the pharmaceutical plant will have two production lines, and it is expected to produce 8 million masks per month after it is put into production in May. (Photo by Li Yinglin)
Zihua Oil Medicine Factory sets up two production lines with monthly output of 8 million masks
Zihua Oil Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Tonghua Huaxing Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. both set up factories at the company's property in Kwun Tong District. They already have dust-free space and meet the ISO Class 7 standard of ISO 14644-1, which is more than the government-funded application requirements. One more level. Xu Shaowen pointed out that the government can easily meet the requirements of the government, but the production of masks was purchased in short supply at the beginning of the year, which caused the cost of production to rise; and pharmaceutical companies expect to produce masks with specifications of ASTM Level 2 or above, and purchase high-quality raw materials. difficult.
He said that if high-quality meltblown nonwovens can be produced locally, they will be considered for use, but the price will be measured: "Because cost will affect the selling price." He also admitted that government subsidies may not be able to pay the costs, but stressed In any case, it will insist on production: "Do not apply the money-making perspective, and measure whether to do it (production of masks)."
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