About a year ago, China shut down most of its economic activities to contain the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
The lockdown measures are most stringent in central Hubei, where the virus first broke out.
“Hubei is completely blocked. Resident Liu Yi said: “No one can enter or leave. We were not even allowed to go out the front door. ”
Strict pandemic control lasted for two months, during which Liu had no income. He sells ingredients to bubble tea and fruit tea shops, which are not subsidized by the Chinese government. The citizens did not receive cash subsidies.
Since Mr. Liu lives in an area where masks are made, he thinks he can invest in personal protective equipment.
Meltblown fabric is the key layer in surgical masks to prevent tiny infectious particles. It is difficult to make a filter capable of filtering 95% of small particles. This is the reason for the lack of high-end medical mask N95 during this pandemic.
Liu hired workers and invested 1.2 million yuan (US$185,000) from the Chinese company Demark to purchase a meltblown fabric machine.
He said: “I think I can recover costs within a year without problems.” “I know that high profit margins will not last long.”
But after several weeks, the machine could hardly be operated, and once it was operated, the meltblown fabric would become hard and brittle. It is actually not suitable for medical masks.
In the further east of Anhui Province, Qian Wensheng has remodeled his brush factory to produce masks, but has encountered problems on the same machine as Mr. Liu.
Within one month, the hot air fan, die, air compressor and core components called extruder must be replaced.
He said: “At first, we thought that the problem was the debugging of the machine, but I finally realized that the machine could not produce fabrics with a filtration rate of 90%, let alone the 95% promised by the manufacturer.”
To be used in N95 masks, it must have a filtration rate of 95%. Last spring, once the United States and other countries entered a lock-up period, the sale of N95 would have a higher profit margin.
However, the general manager of Deutsche Mark told local Chinese media that the company has never guaranteed that its machines will produce meltblown fabrics suitable for N95 masks.
Although Deutsche Mark does not specialize in the production of meltblown fabrics, both Liu and Qian said that they will undoubtedly buy from the company.
Qian Qichen said: “On March 30, 2020, a senior Communist Party official from Zhejiang Province visited Deutsche Mark and encouraged the company to produce qualified products to fight the pandemic.”
Qian Qichen said that he expects the government to step in to help machine buyers. Instead, he said he was under surveillance by the government and was called by the police for the incident.
When Marketplace contacted other machine buyers, another man said he had contacted the police.
The purchaser of the machine said: “The official said he would not accept media interviews.” “This is a commercial dispute. Why should the police intervene? What does it have to do with them?”
“As the Chinese New Year approaches, maybe I will have to sell my apartment. I have no choice.”
The county government did not respond to market requests for comment, but an official from the Changxing County Propaganda Department told local media that it had already punished Demark for exaggerating advertisements on its meltblown fabric machines.
Another Communist Party secretary in Changxing County, where Demark is located, also blamed machine buyers (many of whom were newbies in the mask industry) for making “blind investments” without checking whether market standards have been upgraded.
Between May and August, many customers, including money, appeared at the company’s door to complain.
“Hundreds of people have the same experience as me. This has always been a trap for Demark. This is a fraudster company,” he said.
A machine buyer was captured by a local media and threatened to jump out of a building window.
The man said: “I can’t wait for the company to continue to postpone these negotiations.” “I haven’t sold anything for a few weeks!”
When the pandemic began, the supply of masks was in short supply, and even meltblown fabrics with lower filtration rates were sold out.
In view of the fact that other factories producing non-essential goods have been idle forever, thousands of companies have poured into the market to make masks, including BYD, an electric car manufacturer backed by Warren Buffet, Apple iPhone maker Foxconn, and oil producers. Sinopec, the air-conditioning brand Gree, and a manufacturer of clothing and diapers.
At the same time, after the United States and other countries complained that Chinese products were not up to standard, China raised its mask standards.
“In April’s heyday, top medical-grade masks like KN95 (the Chinese version of N95s) sold for 6 yuan ($0.90) per piece,” Qian said. “Today, it sells for less than 50 hairs ($0.08), so we have stopped producing masks.”
“Hundreds of people have the same experience as me. This has always been a trap of Demark. This is a scam company.”
Qian and others tried to sue the machine company for a refund, but it was difficult for the court to hear the case.
Liu went back to the process of finding ingredients for bubble tea and fruit tea shops, which brought enough money to repay the interest on the bank loan. He also owes money to family and friends.
He said: “As the Chinese New Year approaches, maybe I will have to sell my apartment.” “I have no choice.”
Liu said he hopes he will buy the machine from another company, but he does not regret gambling during the pandemic.
“The Chinese are very good at learning new skills. We are full of passion. Now, I have become a technician in the meltblown fabric industry, fully skilled.” He said. “The problem is that the market no longer exists.”
On Tuesday, January 12, Alex Azar, the Minister of Health and Human Services, announced changes to the way the federal government allocates vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded the scope of the coronavirus vaccine to everyone 65 years and older, as well as those who suffer from an increased risk of complications from COVID-19. The new method also hopes to reward the most efficient states by giving them more doses, but critics say that this will not solve potential problems in some states in launching vaccines.
Recently, companies targeting the pandemic can use a new round of “Payroll Protection Program” loans. If the rules are met, these loans do not have to be repaid. Currently, loans are open to first-time applicants. And the application must be organized through community banks-at least there are currently no major banks. This launch is designed to help business owners who were previously unable to obtain PPP loans.
New data on job vacancies and job vacancies can predict the job market in the coming weeks and months at a glance. Jill Chapman of Insperity, a recruitment services company, said that at this time of the year, recruitment and job hunting activities usually surge. However, optimistic planning for the future these days is not actually an atmosphere. Job postings have been lagging behind job search websites indeed. Compared with the same period last year, the number of listings in December dropped by about 11%.
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Post time: Jan-18-2021