The new crown virus epidemic has been raging for three years. With the return to normal, the remaining masks are expected to be withdrawn within a few months.
In the early days of the epidemic, the mask factories that sprung up like bamboo shoots after rain, where should they go?
According to statistics from the Hong Kong Mask and Anti-epidemic Equipment Association, the number of local mask factories has decreased from about 200 at the peak in 2020 to about 20 at present, a further decrease of 30 compared with the previous year.
"Savewo" is one of the mask brand factories that still survives today. Its founder revealed that he has set foot in the robot industry last year and is ready to be eliminated. It is estimated that after the mask order is revoked, he may lay off employees and cut at least half of the mask production.
"In the end, because the mask order is good, any reason is good, which made our company scale down (reduce the scale), or even close down in the most extreme cases. In fact, we all feel OK."
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When "Savewo" was interviewed last year, it boasted that it aimed to become the world's number one mask.
(Photo by Zhang Haowei)
Before the quarantine order was lifted, the scale reached its peak, with a daily output of 200,000 masks
Since its establishment in early 2020, "Savewo" has a plant size of 130,000 square feet, more than 300 employees, and more than 30 production lines with a daily output of about 200,000 masks. The total investment has reached 80 million yuan, and last year's turnover reached 360 million yuan. .
CEO Ding Zhen has predicted that the mask factory will further shrink in the future, or even close down.
On the day of the interview, he said with a smile, "I will show you the most glorious moment of our mask factory."
When Salvation World accepted an exclusive interview with "Hong Kong 01" on the second anniversary of the epidemic, Ding Zhen boasted that he aimed to become the world's number one mask.
Factory director Huang Yueyang revealed that his medical masks were selected by local dental clinics. He went to Europe for the first time in October last year to participate in medical exhibitions, and won overseas orders with his high quality.
However, he is worried that the time to develop overseas markets is too short, and it will be difficult to absorb the production capacity after the revocation of the mask order.
Call on the government to accept masks as strategic materials to support Hong Kong's mask industry
However, the new crown epidemic will end. Huang Yueyang pointed out pessimistically that the Spanish flu and H1N1 flu were prevalent in the world in the past, and he believed that the government should follow the example of foreign countries and designate masks as strategic materials. "Put hundreds of millions of resources to rebuild the industry.
However, the local market alone may not be able to support mask factories. Ding Zhen criticized the procurement department of the Hong Kong government for not prioritizing Hong Kong manufacturing and using American specifications as the standard, greatly reducing the living space.
Take its masks as an example. Even if it has obtained the highest standard certification from the Mainland, South Korea and the European Union, it cannot participate in the Hong Kong government's order in disguise due to the lack of US certification.
"The strong will not survive, eliminate the weak and eliminate the strong! Completely enter the stage of elimination."
It is estimated that after the revocation of the mask order, the production will be cut by half, and the cartoon style will be abandoned.
Huang Yueyang estimates that this year's output may be cut in half to about 100,000 pieces per day, and the cartoon style will be the first to be discarded; if the balance of income and expenditure is still not reached, he will consider moving to a smaller factory, or even relocate to the mainland or Southeast Asia.
Ding Zhen also pointed out that layoffs will be unavoidable at that time depending on the situation, and it is expected to give priority to retaining technical employees. As for many old mask production machines worth about 300,000 yuan, they can only be discarded.
Although they are well aware that they can definitely make money after moving the factory, they emphasize that they should not Don't forget their original intention and insist on one-stop R&D, design and manufacturing in Hong Kong. "(It can) may not be produced in Hong Kong anymore, but we are fighting here."
Ready to be eliminated: we all feel OK to close down
Ding Zhen promised in last year's interview that "if you don't make enough money, you will cut Heqing".
Looking back on the past, he launched masks that catered to different age groups and special needs, and said that he has fulfilled his original intention of saving the world.
"Not only did we not cut the grass this time, but we also planted more straw."
Looking forward to the future, Huang Yueyang still feels good, and reiterated that he does not expect to make a lot of money, but only wants to draw a tie.
He said he was ready to be eliminated.
"In the end, because the mask order was good, whatever the reason, our company was scaled down, and even closed down in the most extreme cases. In fact, we all felt OK."
Invest 10 million to set foot in the robot industry to pave the way for the future
In order to continue the brand development, unwilling to give up, diversified development has become the only way out.
In addition to face masks, last year Salvation also launched products such as air purifiers and rechargeable hypochlorous acid generators.
Ding Zhen revealed that the sales of this batch of products are on the rise. Since the use of disposable disinfection products is not popular in foreign countries, the overseas orders of the latter are more than four times that of Hong Kong.
In addition, Salvation has also invested about 10 million yuan to set foot in the robotics industry. Using the latest 3D printing technology, it has improved and OEM Rice series robots for local start-ups. The robots have been adopted by K11 shopping malls and foreign companies.
He hopes that after accumulating experience, he can develop the first robot of his own brand within this year. The goal is to produce robots that can perform high-risk tasks, such as testing cables and removing oyster shells for ships.
The Hong Kong mask brand "HK-M" announced its closure on its Facebook page on January 16.
Mask Association: 20 factories plan to continue operating in the next three to five years
In fact, in the past three years, there have been continuous closures of mask brands in Hong Kong. For example, the mask brand "HK-M" announced on January 16 on its Facebook page with about 110,000 likes. Said goodbye to La, but the text did not explain the reason for the graduation.
The Hong Kong Mask and Anti-epidemic Equipment Association stated that according to the latest statistics, during the peak period of 2020, there were about 200 mask factories in Hong Kong. After that, the supply of masks will gradually stabilize from 2021, and the mask industry will enter the stage of weeding out the weak and retaining the strong. About 50 factories remain.
At present, the remaining more than 20 factories have a stable source of customers and plan to continue to operate in the next three to five years.
The association also pointed out that in order to catch up with the international level, local manufacturers had begun to develop international high-quality masks at that time. After three years of development, Hong Kong-made masks have gained international reputation. Up to now, five registered testing centers have verified masks for the world.
The association hopes that the government will continue to support the mask industry so that Hong Kong can remain self-sufficient in the face of sudden outbreaks in the future.
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