Since the first confirmed case of new coronary pneumonia on January 22, 2020, Hong Kong has been in a two-year anti-epidemic war since then, and masks have accompanied the public for two years.
At the beginning of the epidemic, it was difficult to find a mask in the society, and the price of masks even went up to several hundred yuan per box. Since then, mask factories have sprung up, and the golden lacquer signboard of "Made in Hong Kong" once again appeared in the rivers and lakes.
However, there are many brands of masks, and it is inevitable that there will be a bloody storm.
After two years, how does the standing mask factory see the future?
"Savewo", established in June 2020, has successfully established itself. The masks made by the company went out of Hong Kong and exported to 10 overseas countries. Its CEO and factory manager accepted an exclusive interview with "Hong Kong 01" by Shi Hao. The goal is to be number one in the world: "It's not that the world's number one wild is not going to develop it. If you buy it when you go out to the street, why do you want to do it in Hong Kong?"
[Part 5 of a series of reports on the second anniversary of the anti-epidemic]
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"Savewo" emphasizes "Made in Hong Kong, R&D in Hong Kong, Design in Hong Kong", so it does not have a store, and only sells it through sales agents such as online stores and supermarkets.
(Photo by Zheng Zifeng)
The epidemic has entered its third year, and the supply and price of masks in Hong Kong has stabilized. The streets are full of mask stores, and supermarkets also provide masks of various colors, patterns and efficacy for the public to choose.
Recalling the early days of the epidemic, in order to promote the production of local masks, the government launched the "Local Mask Production Subsidy Scheme" under the "Anti-epidemic Fund" to deal with the urgent shortage of masks. About 20 mask factories have been approved for funding, and some manufacturers have made public announcements online. After the fundraising, but later some failed to ship as scheduled, resulting in a group of bitter owners.
24 hours of operation throughout the year, the total investment of 50 million has been paid back
"Savewo" did not rely on the government or crowdfunding, but chose to survive on its own. Its CEO Xiao Ding and mask factory director Huang Yueyang even said, "We have never caught the government's 1 mosquito or 1 cent, that is, the government is stupid, it is not Crowdfunding!"
Like most mask manufacturers, the two saw that the supply of medical and protective materials in Hong Kong was insufficient at the time. It happened that the company had filtration technology and face shape data, so they decided to rent a factory covering an area of about 100,000 square feet in Tsuen Wan for the production and research and development of masks.
Contrary to imagination, the business of “Savewo”, which started late, has been booming since then. Last year, it had to be put into production 24 hours a day. Only from the first to the fourth day of the new year, work was suspended. Although the daily production of more than 200,000 masks was still in short supply.
Xiao Ding also pointed out that the initial investment of 6 million yuan to build the factory, the current total investment has reached 50 million yuan, but the capital has been successfully recovered.
Two years under the epidemic, Huang Yueyang said that it is time to eliminate the weak and keep the strong: lack of innovation will be eliminated
However, after the outbreak of the epidemic, there are a dazzling array of mask brands on the market. There are only dozens of masks advertised as made in Hong Kong. Last year, it was pointed out that there was an oversupply of local masks, which was facing serious slowdown in sales. The industry is even more likely to close 60 mask factories.
How exactly do you beat other opponents?
Huang Yueyang believes that the industry is weeding out the weak and retaining the strong. Brands lacking innovation and mediocre quality will be eliminated, so he emphasizes the importance of quality: "Many people think you are dead? people!"
The secret of success lies in the independent research and development CEO: increase investment as soon as you make money
The two further pointed out that the secret of their success lies in their emphasis on independent research and development compared to other manufacturers, emphasizing "Made in Hong Kong, Research and Development in Hong Kong, Design in Hong Kong", so they do not have a store, and only sell through sales agents such as online stores and supermarkets.
Huang Yueyang proudly stated that he has designed a waterproof meltblown fabric with a 24-hour filtration rate of 99%, and the first barrier-free mask made in Hong Kong with FFP2 level, which is convenient for the hearing impaired to observe the mouth shape when communicating; even improved the mask production machine, adding Layer-by-layer disinfection system, etc.: "We are better than other companies in improving and solving problems, because they buy a machine and return it with broken functions, and they basically don't know what happened."
Purely from the point of view of making money, most companies will no longer invest resources and implement harvesting. However, we do not have the mentality of doomsday, and we will not leave the company. As soon as we make money, we will increase investment in the company.
"Savewo Salvation" CEO Xiao Ding
Xiao Ding emphasized that Savewo is not only a mask manufacturer, but also a research and development company with a laboratory in the factory.
In addition to the sales and raw materials that must be artificially hand-held, material research and development, production processes, mask design and packaging are all handled by one hand, so the mask machine can be assembled and put into production at any time.
He believes that if it is purely from the point of view of making money, most companies will not invest more resources and implement "cutting the green": "But we don't have a doomsday mentality. Normally, when other companies make money, they will pat Luoyou and leave. As soon as we make money, we will invest more in the company.”
Hope the epidemic will end soon without fear and no market: there are always people in the world who need our masks
The epidemic has setback the global economy, and only the demand for anti-epidemic supplies has greatly increased. In the eyes of some citizens, the mask factory is equivalent to making a fortune.
When asked if he would like the epidemic to end as soon as possible, Huang Yueyang responded unequivocally, saying that "saving the world" is their original intention, emphasizing that they and Hong Kong people also hope that the epidemic will end as soon as possible.
He is even more confident that his masks have reached world-class standards. Even if the epidemic is over, the demand from other places can still make up for the shortage of the local market. On the day of the visit, a container of masks was ready to be shipped to the United States: "There will always be people in the world who will buy me. Masks are required, but we all hope that the epidemic will be over soon, and everyone can travel back and forth soon.”
We all hope that the epidemic will end soon, and that everyone can travel back and forth soon. Even if the epidemic is over, the demand from other places (for masks) can still make up for the local market. There will always be people around the world who will buy our masks.
"Savewo" mask factory director Huang Yueyang
I never thought that the epidemic would last for two years and look forward to the future with optimism
Although the epidemic eased for a while last year, in 2022, the fifth wave of the epidemic will break out in Hong Kong due to the influx of Omicron into the community.
Huang Yueyang admitted frankly that he never imagined that the epidemic would continue to develop: "It's Delta, and Omicron, I don't know what the next English word is, and basically use it to make a periodic table of elements. Everyone thinks that this year is Happy Ending, but people count. It’s not as good as heaven’s calculations, it’s all about continuing.” However, he is still optimistic about the future, expecting that Hong Kong people will be able to travel again this Christmas.
I have never thought that the epidemic will continue, Delta, and Omicron, I don't know what to use in English next. Everyone thinks that this year will be Happy Ending, but people are not as good as heaven.
"Savewo" mask factory director Huang Yueyang
Industrial masks equipped with smart fans are being developed
It has been less than two years since the factory was established, and the masks developed have been certified by South Korea, the mainland and other countries to the level of FFF2 and KF94, and even obtained the higher level of FFP3 and KF99 certification.
At present, the masks saved by Savewo are preferentially supplied to Hong Kong, and the remaining production is only exported to 10 overseas countries, including the European Union, the United States, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and other places.
Talking about future research and development plans, Xiao Ding revealed that he is developing industrial masks and UVC disinfection products, and even threatened that the goal of Savewo's salvation is world-class, "It is not the world's first field, we will not develop it. I bought it in the street, do you want to make it in Hong Kong?”
Xiaoding continued to point out that decoration workers are still reluctant to wear masks in a dusty environment, and industrial masks on the market are not sufficiently breathable, so he revealed that he is designing masks with smart fans and stronger filtering effects.
The current idea is that the smart fan will adjust the speed according to the frequency of the wearer's breathing through the sensor, and the use time is up to 12 hours and the battery can be changed.
"It's not as simple as adding the word "smart", but it means that the resistance to your breathing is zero. Shortness of breath, the fan will turn faster, and if you stop breathing, the fan will not turn or turn very slowly.
Xiao Ding expressed his dissatisfaction with the neglect of scientific research talents in Hong Kong many times during the interview: "I used to dream of being an inventor, but I finally became an entrepreneur because I couldn't get food."
Sighing that Hong Kong ignores scientific research talents and wants to be inventors and eventually become entrepreneurs: because they can't get food
Looking through the information, Xiao Ding is the person in charge of the online shopping platform ZATA, and has been interviewed by the media many times as an aerial photography expert.
In this interview, he has expressed his dissatisfaction with the neglect of scientific research talents in Hong Kong many times: "I used to dream of being an inventor, but I finally became an entrepreneur because I couldn't get food. There are so many young people in Hong Kong, so many Geniuses are buried by others, including myself.” Finally, he again criticized Hong Kong companies for their fast-food culture and reluctance to invest resources in research and development: “I told you that a product will take a year to develop, but the boss doesn’t know that the product will come out. Good or bad, I don’t know if it will be sold or not. Are you the boss giving money? 99 out of 100 are unwilling to invest.”
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