Caixin
Feb 25, 2020 08:34 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Chinese Battery Recycler Now Making Disinfectants for Coronavirus

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Companies in China are switching up their business models and rejiggering production lines to help address a nationwide shortage in medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Lithium battery recycling company Gem Co. Ltd. announced that two of its subsidiaries have received new production licenses from local health commissions to produce liquid disinfectants, according to a Monday filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The subsidiaries will use byproducts from battery production to make disinfectants and donate them to the cities they’re based in, the announcement said. One of the subsidiaries, at the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei province, received a license valid for four months, with the other, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, valid for four years.

The country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said in its most recent coronavirus diagnosis and testing guidelines that chemicals including ether, ethanol, peracetic acid and chlorine are effective disinfectants against the virus.

Earlier this month, oil conglomerate China Petrochemicals Corp. (Sinopec) said on social media that its Guangzhou branch had started producing medical polypropylene, a material used to make face masks. On Monday, Sinopec said it had produced a total of 7.55 million masks, and donated 8,000 bottles of alcohol-based disinfectants.

Disinfectant guidelines published by the NHC require crowded public areas including hospitals, airports and railway stations to be regularly sanitized, particularly frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and elevator buttons. Public places across China including residential buildings, bus stations, grocery stores, food markets and public bathrooms are also being regularly disinfected to stem the spread of Covid-19, which has infected tens of thousands and killed more than 2,500 people in the country.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong (yutonglu@caixin.com) and editor Gavin Cross (gavincross@caixin.con)

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