Lin Yanting, deputy general manager of another nappy-maker DaddyBaby, said the cost of non-woven fabric remains around 50,000-60,000 yuan per ton.
“A diaper uses more material than a mask but… I will only turn a profit if I use (the fabric) for a mask,” he said.
“In this environment, a lot of smaller producers cannot sustain… This affects people making sanitary pads, diapers, facial masks and other nonwoven fabric-based products.”
Huang’s firm, which employs around 400 staff, has halved its nappy production, reduced the range of products it makes and increased the sale price by up to 20 percent.
Some clients continue making purchases with fewer orders but more have paused completely, he said.
“I definitely hope that the pandemic will be over soon. Although we can produce protective gear as well, (the situation) is actually damaging to the overall economic system,” he said.
“At the end of it, we may have lost our main business,” he added, referring to hygiene products.
Shen Shengyuan, deputy general manager of nappy-maker New Yifa Group, said although his company has tried sourcing raw materials from abroad, air freight is a problem and a shipping time of over two weeks would be too long.
He said New Yifa had been taking fewer new orders and was struggling to fulfil existing ones because of short supplies.
Lin added that DaddyBaby is producing nappies at a loss now with the high costs, making up the shortfall with profits from its new mask production lines set up during the outbreak — an attempt to maintain stability in the market.
A manager surnamed Yang at Jiaxuan Household Items said it was “impossible” to obtain nonwoven fabric for other uses such as in household products, adding that her company had put production of other items on hold to make masks.