Medical suppliers outside of China may struggle after coronavirus pandemic

China has laid groundwork for permanent dominance in sector: New York Times

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A mask factory in China's Sichuan Province 

A mask factory in China's Sichuan Province  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While the production of essential medical supplies such as surgical masks went global during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many factories outside China might not survive for long afterward, the New York Times reported Sunday (July 5).

Because the communist country has provided manufacturers with cheap land, subsidies, and loans — with hospitals told to buy local products — the Chinese medical supply sector is likely to survive the launch of vaccines and be ready for the next virus pandemic.

While heavy state involvement has also fueled corruption, it has helped provide a solid base for the medical sector similar to endeavors with 5G telecom technology, high-speed rail, and solar panels.

Most of the machinery, parts, and raw materials needed to make essential elements in the fight against the coronavirus, such as masks and even hand sanitizer, have to be imported from China, sometimes at great cost to the manufacturer.

Too many businesses overseas have regarded the virus as a temporary phenomenon which is unlikely to provide a sustainable basis for the medical supplies sector. In the end, once the next pandemic comes along, China will still be the best prepared to fight it.