Sales boom­ing

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHU WENQIAN and SHI XIAOFENG Con­tact the writ­ers at zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn and shixf@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese mos­quito net mak­ers re­port 20 per­cent rise in ex­ports amid Zika con­cerns.

Chi­nese mos­quito net mak­ers have re­ported some 20 per­cent rise in ex­port vol­umes on the back of Zika virus con­cerns in some parts of the Amer­i­cas, Africa and Asia.

Singapore alone has seen more than 300 cases of virus cases this year.

Huzhou, Zhe­jiang province, is China’s largest cen­ter for mos­quito net pro­duc­tion, where hun­dreds of firms en­gage in the busi­ness.

The city makes mos­quito nets worth nearly 2 bil­lion yuan ($300 mil­lion) ev­ery year. Some 50 mil­lion nets are ex­ported.

Don­gren Knit­ters, a lo­cal firm, said its mos­quito nets are priced in the range of $2 to $4 and can be bought on e-stores on both do­mes­tic and for­eign on­line mar­ket­places of Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, China’s largest e-com­merce player.

After Zika fears spread world­wide ear­lier this year, the com­pany has been re­ceiv­ing more than 10 groups of po­ten­tial for­eign buy­ers ev­ery month.

Don­gren Knit­ters said e-com­merce has helped it make its busi­ness ex­port-driven and scale up pro­duc­tion. Up to 15 mil­lion easy-to-use mos­quito nets are ex­ported ev­ery year, with or­ders ris­ing 20 to 30 per­cent an­nu­ally in re­cent years.

In the wake of Zika virus out­break, Don­gren Knit­ters im­proved the de­sign and prop­er­ties of its prod­ucts. The ma­te­rial used to make nets is now in­fused with a re­pel­lent, which en­hances the net’s abil­ity to pro­tect users from mos­quito bites.

Don­gren Knit­ters’ nets are mainly ex­ported to Ja­pan, South Korea; South and South­east Asian coun­tries like Thai­land, Pak­istan, In­dia and Sri Lanka; African coun­tries Nige­ria, Tan­za­nia and Mali; and South Amer­i­can coun­tries Brazil, Ar­gentina and Chile.

In some trop­i­cal de­vel­op­ing coun­tries where many poor fam­i­lies can­not af­ford air con­di­tion­ers and are not even aware of mos­quito nets, Don­gren Knit­ters’ prod­ucts be­came the last line of de­fense against the Zika virus.

Tong Jian­fang, gen­eral man­ager of Don­gren Knit­ters, said: “We mainly fo­cus on cus­tomers from trop­i­cal coun­tries as they have de­mand (for nets) all year around, and we won’t be af­fected by the sea­sons.

“We clinched sev­eral deals at in­ter­na­tional ex­hi­bi­tions and fairs. We also hired English and French trans­la­tors to take care of over­seas or­ders and pro­mo­tions at our over­seas on­line plat­forms.”

He said ev­ery year, Don­gren Knit­ters pro­vides 5 mil­lion mos­quito nets to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the World Chil­dren’s Fund.

“The re­quire­ments of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions have en­cour­aged us to im­prove our skills. Be­sides meet­ing all kinds of stan­dards, we try to make our nets phys­i­cally and chem­i­cally ca­pa­ble of ward­ing off mos­qui­toes.”

Fuer­mei Knit­ter, an­other Huzhou-based firm, said it is try­ing to raise the rep­u­ta­tion of made-in-China mos­quito nets.

The com­pany ex­ports mainly to Pak­istan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Chile and Ar­gentina. Its ex­ports rose by 10 per­cent last year. The com­pany has ex­panded its sales to new mar­kets.

“Of late, we have re­ceived a large num­ber of or­ders from the Mid­dle East and South Amer­ica,” said Zhou Jian­quan, gen­eral man­ager of Fuer­mei Knit­ter.

“Mos­quito nets made in China have been well re­ceived dur­ing the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this sum­mer, and it has been the best ad­ver­tise­ment for Chi­nese knit­ting en­ter­prises,” he said.

The Huzhou lo­cal govern­ment is help­ing knit­ting firms to find more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­port their prod­ucts.

For in­stance, it will help some lead­ing firms to at­tend busi­ness fairs in South Africa and other coun­tries.

Don­gren Knit­ters and Fuer­mei said in the next few years, they plan to ex­port their prod­ucts to Europe and other high-end mar­kets by fur­ther im­prov­ing their tech­ni­cal skills and adding value to their prod­ucts, in terms of de­sign, style and qual­ity.

WANG JIANKANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A cou­ple se­lect mos­quito net at a su­per­mar­ket in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Chi­nese fam­i­lies have a tra­di­tion of us­ing mos­quito nets dur­ing the sum­mer.

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