China’s Restricts PPE Export: A Silver Lining

Even the worst mass-produced masks from China are still better than the junk you get from hand-made masks you can buy from Lazada posing as imported items but are in fact locally produced from recycled leggings. These are usually sold by sellers looking to profit quickly from the situation, terminate the account after receiving so many bad reviews, then just create a new one later on.

China is currently limiting the amount of PPE gear coming out of the country. News everywhere is stating that this is because they want to ensure only high-quality gear gets shipped out. Whether or not this is accurate is, well, unknown – because as veteran importers know: quality is only a matter of knowing what product specs to give your supplier when custom-manufacturing your product (see our sourcing guide). Another possible explanation is that they’re trying to ensure they have enough for their population of 1.4 billion.

Alibaba has taken things a step further. If your IP is in the Philippines, you are prohibited from viewing any listing for face masks. If you happen to have already been in contact with a supplier before the lockdown, you can still work with that supplier and import it into the country through But if you’re just starting now, your chances are slim.

As the saying goes, “The flipside of every problem is an opportunity”

Problem 1: shortage of gear, Problem 2: limited ability to import

So where’s the opportunity?

We did say it’s hard to import face masks from China. But the same doesn’t apply for machines used to manufacture face masks. If you’re in the position to purchase a machine, this may be the perfect time for you to get into the business. A simple search on Alibaba for, “face mask machine” will show that you only need 1.5M PHP to get your very own mass-production unit.

A few things to consider:

  1. China might continue to hold restrictions for exporting face masks or even make them tighter.
  2. The shortage is worldwide. Some existing manufacturers in the Philippines are currently making good money by exporting face masks instead of selling locally. We’re not advocating greed, but we’re just stating this fact.
  3. We don’t really know how much longer COVID19 is going to hang around or when a brand new virus is going to breakout. Keep in mind: every other year there always seems to be one.
  4. Even after the pandemic, fear is going to wane down slowly. People are still going to continue wearing and buying face masks.
  5. Some are going to continue wearing face masks. Some maybe for weird fashion sense, some for the convenience of hiding the face, some because they didn’t miss air pollution.

The key lesson here is that you should not only look into importing items manufactured overseas, but also look into importing the means to manufacture the items domestically. After all, any company or country that owns the production is the long-term winner. Want an example? Just look who’s the world’s largest economy (the real one).

You should study any business carefully before diving in. When you’ve already found a supplier and would like to find out how much it costs to bring your item into the country, just fill up our quotation form.