China Dominates Medical Supplies, in This Outbreak and the Next
BEIJING — Alarmed at China’s stranglehold over supplies of masks, gowns, test kits and other front-line weapons for battling the coronavirus, countries around the world have set up their own factories to cope with this pandemic and outbreaks of the future.
When the outbreak subsides, those factories may struggle to survive. China has laid the groundwork to dominate the market for protective and medical supplies for years to come.
Factory owners get cheap land, courtesy of the Chinese government. Loans and subsidies are plentiful. Chinese hospitals are often told to buy locally, giving China’s suppliers a vast and captive market.
Once vaccines emerge, demand will plummet. Factories will close. But Chinese companies are likely to have the lowest costs by far and be best positioned for the next global outbreak.