(Yicai Global) Feb. 10 -- More than 3,000 Chinese companies, including carmaker BYD and energy giant Sinopec, have added masks, protective clothing, disinfectants, thermometers and medical devices to their registered business scope since the beginning of this year as a deadly coronavirus sweeps across the country.
The figures, accurate up to Feb. 7, span companies engaged in 64 different industries, according to business data platform Tianyancha. More than half of the 3,000 firms are retailers while other top sectors include business services, research and testing, sanitation, and professional technical services.
Several big name firms have turned their attention to maskmaking recently as they look to cash in on the coronavirus epidemic that has claimed over 900 lives to date. Electric carmaker BYD plans to start producing 5 million masks and 50,000 bottles of disinfectant per day by the end of this month, and joint auto venture SAIC-GM-Wuling plans to renovate a factory in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Province make 1.7 million a day before March.
Sinopec, officially China Petroleum & Chemical, has added the sector to the scope of its 54 gas stations and the corporation and its partners have built 11 mask production lines. It can make 130,000 masks a day as of today and hopes to be able to supply 1 million a day by March 10.
Guangdong province is home to more of the 3,000 firms than any other, with 414 registered in the region. Beijing, Shandong, Jiangsu and Henan follow up, while Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, ranks eighth with 143.
A handful of listed firms in the clothing and home textiles industries have also joined the ranks of temporary mask makers. Shanghai Shuixing Home Textile, Huafang, and Baoxiniao Holding and their subsidiaries have all switched out their equipment to make masks, medical clothing and equipment, and other related items. Diaper maker Daddybaby also plans to make between 2 million and 2.5 million masks a day by the end of this month.
Editor: James Boynton