COFCO Group, China's leading foodstuff producer and grain trader, will consolidate its partnerships with other centrally-administrated State-owned enterprises to deliver urgently needed materials on time to fight the novel coronavirus, a senior executive said.
The Beijing-headquartered group has shipped vegetables, rice, edible oils, meat and other foodstuffs to many locations in Central China's Hubei province and provided over 10,000 metric tons of ethanol for disinfection to 25 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions since the start of the epidemic.
The group currently transports 50,000 bottles of ethanol for use as disinfectant in small packages to Beijing on a daily basis. They are produced by its subsidiary, COFCO Biotechnology Co.
COFCO Group President Yu Xubo said all of the business units in the company have resumed work and raised their production volume to meet the market demand across the country, particularly in Hubei province which is the epicenter of the outbreak.
At this time, COFCO Group supplies more than 200 tons of rice, 50 tons of flour, and about 300 tons of edible oil to the city of Wuhan daily. By working with other government branches, it has also tightened the supervision of retailers to prevent speculation in these commodities.
Assigned by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, COFCO has partnered with other central SOEs such as China COSCO Shipping Group, China Grain Reserves Group and China National Machinery Industry Corp to transport the goods to Hubei province and other parts of the country.
The move has ensured the firm's ability in the distribution of goods, food and processed edible oil.
Yu said COFCO International Co, one of the group's arms for overseas operations, purchased over 12,000 face masks and more than 1,000 sets of medical protective clothing last week from countries such as Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
The commission also urged last week that manufacturers of urgently needed materials, such as disinfectant, face masks and medical protective clothing, should maximize their production potential. Those who are capable should work in these areas to further ensure supplies.
Other central SOEs such as China North Industries Group Corp, Xinxing Cathay International Group and China National Machinery Industry Corp have all reported a surge in production volume in manufacturing face marks and protective clothing over the past five days.
The country's top State assets regulator also said it will make full use of the resources from all parties to solve issues in production, material supply and goods distribution. It has already organized central SOEs to carry out research and development of production equipment, such as machines that produce face masks and medical protective clothing.
The novel coronavirus epidemic will change the development mode and create new growth points for many SOEs during the post-epidemic period, said Li Jin, chief researcher at the China Enterprise Research Institute in Beijing.