The wearing of face masks has become an everyday part of the new normal in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and local firm HK Burltex is raising quality standards, as well as confidence in domestically made protective equipment.
HK Burltex Manufactory Co Ltd is embracing a shift in demand by venturing into the face mask and personal protection equipment (PPE) market after almost a decade of making fashion handbags for export.
The Sino-Cambodian company has turned its manufacturing expertise and experience to face masks in response to the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The outbreak has not been kind to the apparel and fashion industry in general, with the past year bringing unexpected economic and business challenges to those specialising in the manufacture of fashion accessories.
“Established in the manufacture of handbags and shoes since 2012, producing face masks is something that is new to us. But with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic early last year, we experienced a sharp decline in the market for our products.
“With demand for face masks and PPE spiralling both domestically and globally in response to the health crisis, the company made the strategic decision to add face masks as another product in its manufacturing chain,” said HK Burltex Manufactory Co Ltd managing director Hong Kong Wai.
leading online market research platform MarketsAndMarkets.com has forecast the global face mask market to grow from $737 million in 2019 to $22 billion in 2021, an almost 30-fold increase.
The global medical face mask market was expected to have reached more than 52 billion units by the end of 2020 due to the eruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, with this expected to stabilise in 2021, reaching 29 billion units by 2025.
As Cambodians continue to face changes to everyday life brought on by the pandemic, the reputable company’s foray into face mask manufacturing will bring peace of mind in light of concerns over the quality of face masks and increased prices in the market over the past year.
“To meet consumer concerns on the quality and also the level of protection provided by our products, we concentrated efforts over a period of five to seven months to develop products and fabrication methods that meet health and safety requirements.
“This was performed after the company’s application to produce face masks was approved by the government in April last year.
“As a result, we can confidently say that the entire range of face mask products made domestically by HK Burltex are among a few that is certified by the Cambodian Ministry of Health to meet required international health and safety standards,” said Hong.
A box of 50 pieces – comprising a basic three-ply type face mask made using quality raw materials imported from China – retails at leading supermarkets and convenience stores at $8.
And Hong believes this is a reasonable pricing proposition that will help protect Cambodia while contributing to stabilising the price of face masks in the Kingdom.
As well as the basic three-ply type face mask, HK Burltex also manufactures other variants, such as four-ply and N95 surgical masks.
With 10 production lines and a staff pool of 700 employees, the company is able to produce up to one million face mask every day.
Interest in its face mask production chain is expected to be further boosted as the company has recently started manufacturing original equipment for corporate customers, with products customised according to the client’s branding requirements.
And there are plans to further expand operations in the coming months, with an additional 10 more production lines to double the company’s production output to two million face masks per day – with HK Burltex looking to manufacture further items of PPE, and to export.
“Riding on the quality of our products as well as our reasonable pricing proposition to our retail partners and corporate customers, we expect to capture a 10 per cent share of the domestic face mask market within the next two years.
“As for PPE, that will be another story to look out for from HK Burltex,” said general manager Frankie Yeung.