Chinese companies tout quality of condoms

Updated: 2011-04-15 11:17

By  Zhong Nan (China Daily European Weekly)

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Major Chinese enterprises are quickly gaining a larger foothold in exports of condoms.

Tao Ran, president of Guilin Latex Group, which makes the Gobon brand condoms, says it sells 350 million Gobon condoms to 35 countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Kenya.

Guilin Latex Group, based in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, is China's largest condom maker with more than 1,100 workers.

The company made 70 million yuan (7.5 million euros) in exports last year. Seventy-eight percent of its exports were purchased by foreign governments, NGOs and the United Nations Population Fund for HIV/AIDS prevention, according to company officials.

"We are concentrating on the businesses with different foreign governments now because they

have trustworthy credibility and strong demand of our products," Tao says.

According to a 2010 report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), one-third of countries around the world have made AIDS prevention a high budgetary priority.

To low- and middle-income countries, domestic resources account for more than half of all AIDS-related investments.

The need for condoms has increased significantly in both developed and developing countries, says the UNAIDS report.

China, a major manufacturing country, has been proficient in producing high-quality condoms, according to industry experts in China.

Unfortunately, many developing countries are incapable of producing condoms that meet the criteria established by the International Organization for Standardization, the European Committee for Standardization, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

These standards are mainly concerned with the safety and integrity of the condoms and establish minimum levels of acceptable quality.

Shenyang Sky and Land Latex Co Ltd, a Shenyang-based condom producer, has been selling a growing number of condoms to Russia, Pakistan, India and Spain, company officials say.

The company exported 120 million condoms to 10 countries last year. About 7 million condoms were shipped directly to packaging factories for foreign condom makers.

"We are also trying to enter the markets of Mongolia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea this year," says Qi Liang, the company's manager of exports.

"Well-known foreign condom brands from the US and Europe have already occupied markets in top-tier Chinese cities."

An estimated 13 billion condoms per year are needed to help halt the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the world, according to UNAIDS.

Sun Jianhua, an executive at the China Rubber Industry Association, says China imported 230 million condoms and exported 1.6 billion condoms abroad last year.

He says condoms only costs 0.04 to 0.05 euros when it leaves the factory in

China, but that prices soar to at least 0.8 euros or even 3 euros after they are labeled as American or European brands.

"Chinese condoms were often seen as cheap and poor quality in international markets, but this definition has been changed by the real quality of Chinese condoms. In recent years, they are fairly reliable," Sun says.


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