Shoe, diaper makers start manufacturing masks
Lin Nan

Several makers of clothing and baby care products are producing more face masks at their revamped factories. This comes in response to the mask shortage being felt in Wuhan and around China.

A dozen shoemakers and diaper factories in the southeastern Chinese city of Putian are temporarily transforming their existing dust-free assembly lines into mask-making units. The city is known for its shoemaking industry, but had no mask-producing company at all until now.

"Normally, masks are produced by automated equipment, so the production is very effective. But we are unable to buy the equipment, therefore we have to rely on manpower. We are getting more productive. At first, one worker could only make about 200 masks a day, now it has increased to six to seven hundred a day," said Zhu Yizhen, vice president of SEMS Enterprise.

As more companies are resuming business and schools may reopen soon in Fujian Province, masks are in high demand from local people.

"The daily output can reach over 1 million nowadays. The masks need to go through packaging and disinfecting, so we can supply about half a million masks a day. We will supply them to front-line workers and people returning to work first, and the rest will go to locals. The production will be increasing in a few days to satisfy the demand of our residents," said Chen Junjie, chief engineer of Putian Bureau of Industry and Information Technology. 

Ten shoemakers have turned to mask production already, and more shoe factories will soon join them.