In one week, Beijing sets up factory to make 10 million masks a month

  • China
  • Thursday, 06 Feb 2020

Employees at a factory in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, work around the clock to produce masks to replenish supplies in the fight against the novel coronavirus. TANG DEHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

BEIJING, Feb 6, China Daily/ANN -- A new factory capable of producing 10 million masks every month was completed and commenced trial production in Beijing on Monday, as China continued its efforts to tackle the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area said Lianhe Kangli, a medical device company, started trial operations on Monday in Beijing ETown, in Daxing district of the capital.

It took just seven days during the Lunar New Year holiday from the time the company said that it was looking for a place to set up a plant to produce masks for the current battle against the virus and getting all the necessary paperwork and approvals with the help of local authorities.

On Sunday night, three sets of production equipment were delivered to the factory and workers started debugging it. The factory is expected to initially produce 20,000 N95 masks and 200,000 three-layer surgical masks every day. Its production capacity will reach 10 million masks every month after it operates at full capacity.

"We never thought we could do this in such a short time. Government officials facilitated the entire process and opened special channel for us," said Wu Huijuan from Lianhe Kangli.

On Jan 26, staff on duty at the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area received a call, saying that a company named Lianhe Kangli had equipment to produce masks, but they needed to find a plant with a high-standard of cleanliness.

Wang Lijun, deputy director of ETown's technological innovation bureau, helped them find a plant at the Beijing UnionLuck Biological Technology Co Ltd factory.

To set up a factory in Beijing, Lianhe Kangli, which had only manufactured in Central China's Henan province, had to go through industrial and commercial registration, industrial project approval and environmental impact assessment formalities with the local authorities.

A WeChat working group was set up by 13 departments of the Beijing ETown to help the company complete the procedures within a few days.

More than 40 enterprises in Beijing have been involved in the fight against the epidemic, half of which have developed products for the prevention, control and treatment of the novel coronavirus, according to ETown officials.

Some companies have also donated money directly to Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic. For instance, Beijing BOE Display Technology Co, a display producer and solution provider, donated 10 million yuan ($1.43 million) on Jan 27.

The local government of ETown has issued 10 guidelines to support enterprises in 10 sectors, including medical care, food, housing, and transportation, to ensure the sustainable and healthy development of the regional economy while controlling the epidemic.

"We hope to convey the message to enterprises through these policy measures that the current temporary difficulties are not terrible. We will continue to provide full support for their innovation and development, and work together with them to get through the difficulties," said Liu Li, director of the Economic Development Bureau in Beijing ETown.

In addition to Chinese companies, many foreign enterprises in ETown have joined the fight against the new virus.

A computed tomography scanning machine made by GE's Beijing factory was produced in ETown within three days and has been sent to Leishenshan, or Thunder God Mountain Hospital, in Wuhan. Usually, it takes about three weeks to produce such a CT scan machine, which is composed of more than 6,000 parts, involving nearly 150 suppliers at home and abroad.

However, for the extraordinary task, the factory optimized various processes with the overall assistance of the ETown and produced it within three days. It is also the fastest production speed for the same type of CT scan machine.

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