July 9, 2009

Chinese condom plant starts production

Production began Thursday at a new condom plant in China's Shandong province with an annual capacity of 864 million pieces and 620 tons of lubricants.

The plant in Qingdao city in the eastern coastal province is owned by Britain's Durex, the world's largest condom maker, China Daily reported. The plant is Durex's largest unit in the world, bigger than the city's first one, which was opened in 1998 with an annual capacity of 250 million pieces.

We decided to build the new factory much before the (global financial) crisis, Garry Watts, chief executive of Durex's parent SSL International, was quoted as saying. Compared with other industries, our products are recession resistant.

China, with a huge potential condom market, continues to be one of the major investment destinations for SSL, the report said.

It is proper to have our business integrated into China through this big plant and commercial base. We would leverage a strong skill base rather than simply looking for a very low-cost producer, Watts said.

The report, quoting Reportlinker, which compiles industry figures, said condom sales in China totaled about 6.3 billion pieces last year with revenues totaling about $530 million. China's condom market is expected to grow about 15 percent annually.

Of the total output from the Qingdao units, 18 percent is targeted for domestic consumption with the rest exported to global markets, including Russia and the United Kingdom, the report said.