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Ruyi Group Pivots to Produce Protective Apparel

Some Chinese garment producers are lending their production expertise to manufacture prevention materials and medicine as global fears of a coronavirus pandemic escalate.

From Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, one of China’s largest textile producers, Ruyi Group, delivered 3 million yuan ($428,522) worth of medical-grade protection garments to the Emergency Support Group of the Jining Pandemic Treatment Headquarters in the southwestern Shandong province of China, the company announced on Monday.

Ruyi Group now has plans to produce 5,000 sets of isolation garments after configuring an impromptu production line, purchasing emergency quantities of raw materials and setting up sample testing protocols, the company said. The group also sent a “professional team” to assist with manufacturing medical and surgical clothing.

The first batch, consisting of 500 sets of medical isolation garments, was donated to the Jining Red Cross, according to a statement.

Yinchuan Binhe Ruyi Clothing Co., Ltd.—located in Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China—and Ruyi Group Tai’an Co., Ltd.—also found in the Shangdong region of China—both produced batches ranging between 300 pieces and 500 pieces each as soon as they were able to obtain production qualifications for non-sterile isolations garments, the company said.

The Ruyi Group donated both shipments to local government departments between Feb. 12 and Feb.14.

Ruyi Group facilities were able to return to production swiftly once employees were allowed to come back to work, with the company noting its own Ruyi Woolen Garments Workshop reached 80 percent production capacity on the first day employees were allowed to return on Feb. 10.

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By the third day back, the Ruyi Group said production had returned to full capacity at the workshop.

“There are 508 employees at work at this moment, producing foreign trade orders [for] February,” Su Qian, director of the Ruyi Woolen Garment Group, said in a statement.

In house, the Ruyi Group has established a “pandemic-control” division to establish protocols protecting employee health during the outbreak of coronavirus, now known as COVID-9.

The Ruyi Group isn’t the only manufacturer willing to shift production away from the status quo in order to meet needs during the outbreak. In Qingdao, China—another city in the province of Shangdong—Maliya Garments Co. Ltd. has stopped making the custom-made clothing and luxury hotel apparel it typically produces.

Instead, workers in the Qingdao factory have begun manufacturing face masks and protective suits for hospitals and medical professionals, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese manufacturers have seen some international peers lend a hand amid the outbreak. Last month, Kim Glas, president and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said American manufacturers were “ready, able and willing to help in any way possible.”

And China’s Sneaker City also stepped up to the plate, leveraging its knowledge and experience to work with diaper factories in producing face masks.