— As one of the largest manufacturers of the kits, China is speeding up production to meet the skyrocketing demand and contribute to global anti-pandemic efforts, even during the Chinese New Year holidays.
— Chinese manufacturers have seen a spike in orders for test kits against the backdrop of the pandemic.
— The export value of China-made COVID-19 test kits of antibody detection reached 10.2 billion yuan (about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars) last December, an increase of about 144 percent from the previous month.
GUANGZHOU, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — As the world is ravaged by highly contagious Omicron variant, the demand for COVID-19 test kits is surging.
As one of the largest manufacturers of the kits, China is speeding up production to meet the skyrocketing demand and contribute to global anti-pandemic efforts, even during the Chinese New Year holidays.
SURGE IN DEMAND
Song Xiaoyu chose not to travel about 1,000 km back to her hometown Jingzhou in central China’s Hubei Province for family gathering, a Spring Festival tradition observed by the Chinese people. Instead, she is busy producing COVID-19 test kits at a Guangzhou-based factory.
Song works for Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., Ltd., a company that mainly produces COVID-19 antigen test kits, most of which are exported to countries of Europe and Asia.
“I don’t see this as just a job. It is more like a responsibility,” she said. “Ensuring the capacity of the kits means a lot to the fight against the pandemic. Most of our colleagues in other departments have also temporarily joined us to help with production.”
Song added that in return, the company has given out subsidies as well as holiday gifts, and promised compensatory leaves after the peak season.
Chinese manufacturers have seen a spike in orders for test kits against the backdrop of the pandemic.
The export value of China-made COVID-19 test kits of antibody detection reached 10.2 billion yuan (about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars) last December, an increase of about 144 percent from the previous month, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs of China.
Starting in January, many overseas customers chose to order in advance to stock up on the test kits considering the pressure of logistics during the Spring Festival, said Xie Longxu, deputy general manager of Guangdong Hybribio Biotech Co., Ltd.
BGI Genomics, another major producer of test kits in China, has also seen its overseas orders increase significantly in recent weeks.
The company has already been in full production with overseas orders flooding in, said Li Ning, vice president of the company, adding that new orders will take about three weeks to be filled.
Thanks to an integrated supply chain for COVID-19 antigen test kits production in China, the companies across the country have the advantage and ability to increase production capacity to ensure global supply.
“We need to deal with many orders in a very short time,” said Isabella Lau, director of supply chain logistics with Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., Ltd., adding the company has made arrangements in response to skyrocketing demands.
The company has more than 400 suppliers of raw materials and has been preparing backup core suppliers to ensure the production and delivery of orders, according to the director.
Guangdong Hybribio Biotech has also geared up. “We improve the automation level, upgrade the equipment and add a number of production lines to increase production capacity,” Xie said.
“We handle foreign orders around the clock,” Xie said. “The company will respond immediately to ensure timely delivery whenever an order comes regardless of the time difference.”
BGI Genomics has made a direct investment in the construction of a test kit production plant in Ethiopia. The plant capable of producing 10 million units a year will not only help Ethiopia produce affordable test kits on its own but contribute to Africa’s fight against the pandemic, said Li Ning.