(Yicai Global) Jan. 23 -- Face mask producers are paying five times the usual wage in China and have asked staff who've already left for the Lunar New Year holiday to come back to work as demand surges.
Alibaba Group Holdings' online Taobao emporium, the world's largest e-commerce platform, sold more than 80 million of the protective products on Jan. 21 and yesterday, and is now replenishing its supply, as well as that of disinfectants and liquid soaps, The Paper reported.
Many mask producers have foregone the Spring Festival holiday and begun to run in overdrive to produce surgical masks to counter the novel coronavirus sweeping the country, Taobao said. Many couriers have returned to work as well and will deliver masks to consumers during the holiday, the platform added.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba has contacted 92 domestic makers and its inventory now totals about 46 million, saying these firms can produce 1.57 million units before the lunar new year holiday, which sees the world's largest annual human migration, and are expected to make about 16.3 million a day after resuming production post-holiday.
Sellers in nearly 300 Chinese cities will continue to deliver masks to local residents during the holiday.
The Tmall international e-commerce arm Alibaba spun off from Taobao in 2008 started to offer rebates for masks and hike allowances for higher delivery costs to rein in price rises yesterday. Liquid soap, detergents, disinfectants and vitamin C effervescent tablets all qualify for these incentives.
Cainiao, Alibaba' logistics unit, will also restock. Its supply chain gave nearly 10,000 masks and thousands of bars of sulfur soap to its deliverymen and employees in Wuhan on Jan. 21, directing that all deliverymen who deliver goods to consumers' doors must wear masks.
Editor: Ben Armour