Unannounced visits to mask manufacturers to understand the truth behind masks

Masks, an object that people usually don’t care about, and an unknown industry, overcame pork this spring and became a new choice for people to show off their wealth. There are countless legends about making a fortune relying on masks: a small mask factory that is about to go out of business, now earns tens of millions a month with orders; a “father” who is squatting in a mask factory, earns several million with the supply of goods; a new entrant The small boss of the bureau bought the machine at a high price. He thought it was “leek”, but he made a lot of money by relying on overseas orders.

Huge interests have driven countless profit-seekers to move forward bravely. As of press time, we searched through Tianyan’s keyword search, and there are currently 99,786 companies involved in related masks in China, and 38,847 companies registered within one year. According to Qixinbao’s inquiry, there are currently 4,689 companies producing masks across the country.

► With so many companies manufacturing masks, what is the production capacity of masks?

The author learned from the mask punching machine supplier that a semi-automatic punching machine can produce 40-50 masks per minute. At present, there are 4,689 companies producing masks in China. Based on the fact that each company has 2 production lines and machines make 12 hours a day and produce 40 pieces per minute, the current domestic daily production capacity has reached 270 million pieces. And that’s not counting the masks produced in unregistered home-based workshops.

So many masks, why are masks still so expensive? Although judging from the current price of masks, it has fallen back. However, from Taobao Mall, disposable medical masks are 2 yuan a piece, and KN95 masks are between 12 yuan and 20 yuan. There is still a gap of several times from the price before the epidemic.

► Masks are so expensive, who makes the money?

This needs to start at the source.

As far as mask production is concerned, the threshold is not high: a sterile workshop, a machine, purchasing raw materials, applying for a license, and it can be done soon. It is precisely because the threshold is not high that people who make masks flock here.

In terms of implementation, the reality is very skinny. The first problem faced is to buy a mask machine. Affected by the relationship between supply and demand, a mask machine that usually costs more than 100,000 has now risen to more than one million. Even if the order is won, it does not mean Machines can be received in a short period of time, so that there is now a futures market. Every day of delay, the changes will increase several times. It is common to sit on the ground and raise prices. Due to the difficulty of machine debugging, the market has also spawned many teams specializing in selling debugging services, and even quoted a service price of 100,000 yuan a day on the Internet.

Once you get the machine, do you think everything will be fine? Then you are too young too naive. Make bricks without straw. How to make masks without raw materials?

The raw materials of masks are not complicated, and non-woven fabrics and meltblown fabrics constitute the whole. The problem is that due to the long production and construction cycle, high technical threshold and high cost, meltblown cloth is a kind of partial material in the chemical industry, and the demand itself is not particularly strong. The sudden arrival of the epidemic has made meltblown cloth a darling, and staged “a preaching, chickens and dogs rise to the sky”.

The author learned from the supplier that the price of meltblown cloth before the epidemic was 20,000 yuan per ton. The price then rose to 300,000 in February. As of press time, the author learned through inquiry that the price of 95-99 meltblown cloth ranges from 450,000 per ton to 600,000 per ton. The price of non-woven fabrics ranges from 90,000 to 115,000 yuan per ton. It is conservatively estimated that the meltblown cloth is 0.45 yuan/g, and the non-woven fabric is 0.09 yuan/g.

According to the calculation of 2 layers of non-woven fabrics and 1 layer of melt-blown cloth to make disposable medical masks, one mask uses 1g of melt-blown cloth and 2g of non-woven fabrics. The price of core raw materials has reached 0.63 yuan.

In addition, nose bridge clips, ear ropes, packing bags, labor and other expenses will be included in the mask. Then the cost of a mask is basically more than 1 yuan. In the same way, it can be calculated that a KN95 mask is more than 4 yuan. And this price is only the price when the quality of raw materials is guaranteed and the purchase price is lower.

The cost is already high, but this is only in an ideal situation. In fact, to sell masks, your factory needs to be formal, have a record, and complete the procedures. The most important point is that you can get reliable raw materials.

Let’s talk about raw materials first. According to official data, the current daily supply of meltblown cloth by central enterprises has reached 42.5 tons. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually enough to produce thousands of masks. Coupled with the supply of regular private enterprises, the total amount of meltblown cloth will not exceed 100 tons. We have just calculated that China’s current production capacity of masks has reached 270 million. So, how are the masks in the difference made? Papery?

The shortage of meltblown cloth under the epidemic has stimulated the development of the industry. Taking Yangzhong City, Jiangsu Province, the “hometown of meltblown cloth” as an example, since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, Yangzhong City has registered more than 800 enterprises involved in the production and sales of meltblown nonwoven fabrics. Family. Since the raw materials can not be dealt with, then use alternative products. Use ordinary polypropylene fiber material to replace meltblown fiber material, and replace nearly 10 million yuan of professional meltblown cloth equipment with a small meltblown machine of 300,000 yuan. In the end, only “meltblown cloth” without electret treatment can be produced, and the filtration efficiency is only about 40%.

And such meltblown cloth has been used by “Daoye”, and it has become the “imported source of goods” in the mouth or is fake. sold in the market.

So, the raw material you thought you received:

Raw materials you actually receive:

Let’s talk about qualifications. Most bosses are affiliated with other companies. The venue fee is 5,000 yuan per day, and some also need to pay a deposit of 5,000 to 10,000 yuan per day, which is another expense.

At the same time, qualifications determine the sales channels. At present, with the improvement of the domestic epidemic situation and the increase in the cost of masks, masks can already be purchased through regular channels, and the prices cannot go up. What should I do with the masks produced? Export it.

At present, there are mainly two ways for masks to be shipped abroad. One is self-pickup, and foreign military planes or charter planes are sent to carry out the transportation; the other is domestic air transportation. Air cargo capacity is mainly composed of passenger aircraft belly hold and all-cargo aircraft, of which the belly hold is mainly used to carry cargo. According to data from the Airport Economic Research Center of the Civil Aviation University of China, in 2019, the belly hold of China’s international routes accounted for 48.6% of the cargo volume, and the proportion of all-cargo aircraft was 51.4%, and the two were basically the same.

As for the price, due to the impact of the epidemic, some air routes have been cancelled, which is naturally rising. It has been sent to Europe as an example. Although the fastest flight can be guaranteed to be dispatched on the same day, including double clearance, tax declaration, and door-to-door service, it can be delivered within 3-4 days. The price is also ridiculously expensive, reaching 160 yuan/KG. The price of ordinary air freight is basically completed within 8-15 days, and the price also ranges from 58 yuan/KG (excluding customs clearance) to 70/KG (including customs clearance). Basically, the shipping cost equivalent to each mask is about 7 cents.

In fact, this is a good business. Each mask is shipped overseas with a shipping fee of 7 cents, and you can buy it for a few dollars or even a dozen dollars if you change hands. But it is the channel merchants who make the money, and it is difficult for the mask factory to get a share of the pie. Moreover, the number of companies that can export is limited at present. At present, there are more than 60 companies certified by the FDA in China, and a large number of masks are still circulating in China.

Therefore, the biggest profit in the mask industry, upstream, machine providers, raw material providers, facing a serious imbalance between supply and demand, as long as there is stock, there is no problem of not being able to sell, they earn huge profit. The author actually learned that the cost of a complete set of production machines and molds is about 150,000 yuan, the raw material polypropylene is about 13,000 yuan/ton, and two tons of polypropylene can produce one ton of meltblown cloth. Taking Yangzhong businessmen as an example, they invested 300,000 yuan to build a meltblown cloth production line. They recovered the cost that week, produced them for two months, and earned 20 million yuan. They sold the production line at a high price and landed safely.

Secondly, the sellers, or “fathers”, with empty gloves and white wolves, have raised prices countless times, raising the price of masks. Connect the upstream and downstream, communicate in the middle, and easily contribute to GDP without leaving home.

And the actual mask factory, large-scale formal enterprises needless to say. The ones who really face the dilemma are the players who enter the game later. The machine was purchased at a high price, and the qualified raw materials could not be purchased, and it was faced with the situation of idling. The so-called “substitutes” that can be purchased are affected by the increasingly strict supervision of the national government and the return of masks in some countries. It’s getting harder and harder to sell.

► Opportunity may turn into crisis

Recently, Yangzhong City, Jiangsu Province, the “Hometown of Meltblown Cloth”, announced that all meltblown cloth business enterprises will suspend production for rectification, and the Ministry of Public Security has started a special campaign for meltblown cloth inspections nationwide. At the same time, the former Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and State Supervision Commission said that the State Administration of Market Supervision announced that so far: 88.2626 million illegally manufactured and sold masks have been seized.

At present, a businessman in Yangzhong said that he invested hundreds of millions of yuan to buy back the machine. At present, due to control, the cloth produced is not collected, and his own workshop will face the danger of being closed at any time due to problems such as qualifications. Another mask seller said that due to the severe shortage of masks in the early stage, they can basically be sold at high prices. With the increasingly strict inspection at home and abroad, it is difficult for masks with substandard quality to enter the field of medical masks. The price is extremely low, affected by raw materials, and it is basically unprofitable.

In an avalanche, no snowflake is innocent. A vicious circle has long been formed within the mask industry, capital investment urgently needs to be returned, and inferior materials are purchased for production.

Everyone knows that the huge profits of masks are unsustainable, and they also know that the policy may be tightened, but they all want to outperform the time, the market, and the policy under the huge profits. Take over the man and earn your first pot of gold. But as far as the mask industry is concerned, it is certain that with the increasingly strict control, the bubble will eventually burst, and those who are reckless under the trend of huge profits will eventually face a crisis.

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