Imports of oxygen concentrators, supplies from China surge

Most of the supplies coming in from China have been imported by private Indian companies on a commercial basis.

May 08, 2021 08:10 pm | Updated 09:04 pm IST

A view of the Oxygen concentrators in Bengaluru on May 8, 2021.

A view of the Oxygen concentrators in Bengaluru on May 8, 2021.

Chinese companies manufacturing oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies are reporting a record surge in orders for April and May from Indian companies amid the current wave of COVID-19 cases and shortages in supplies.

Since April, orders for at least 40,000 oxygen concentrators have been placed by Indian companies, of which 21,000 have so far been delivered, along with more than 5,000 ventilators, 21 million face masks and 3,800 tons of medicines, according to official Chinese customs figures.

Shares of medical manufacturers in China are also soaring on the back of the surge in orders. Yuyue Medical, a prominent supplier, reported a 134% year-on-year increase in net profit to $278 million in April, reported Yicai, a Chinese outlet, with 18,000 orders for oxygen concentrators from India. “Its respiratory supplies division, which includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators, reported an 86% jump in revenue to $355 million,” Yicai reported.

Another manufacturer of oxygen concentrators, Zhengzhou Olive Electronic Technology, said it received orders for 18,000 oxygen concentrators which prompted it to add another production line and more workers to increase its daily production capacity of 170, reported the official Xinhua news agency.

Some Chinese companies have also said they are donating medical supplies. Among them is Fosun Pharma, a major pharmaceuticals company, which last week donated 150 ventilators through its subsidiary in Hyderabad Gland Pharma and 1,00,000 masks delivered to Mumbai. The company is also processing orders for 20,000 oxygen generators, Xinhua reported.

Most of the supplies coming in from China have been imported by private Indian companies on a commercial basis. While some Chinese companies in the private sector are routing donations through various channels, India has so far not accepted official offers from China’s government for assistance, conveyed on April 30 in a letter from President Xi Jinping to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in a phone call between the two Foreign Ministers on the same day.

India has requested Chinese authorities to ensure that supply channels remained open, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said. He told his counterpart Wang Yi that “many of our companies are ordering stuff from China and we are encountering difficulties in logistics, so please take a look at it which is something which we would appreciate,” he said speaking at a virtual dialogue earlier this week. “After our conversation things did move,” he said. “Some of our airlines got quicker approvals, the logistics chain is flowing, and that is something which is very laudable.”

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