China is now the world's fourth largest producer of condoms, behind Britain, the US and Japan, according to a report compiled under the aegis of the State Family Planning Commission and quoted by Xinhua. The 300-plus domestic manufacturers have the capacity to produce more than 3bn condoms a year, while annual consumption stands at roughly 2bn. Experts forecast that sales will rise by 15 per cent a year for the next few years.
The government buys more than 1.2bn condoms annually and distributes them free. The government also imports more than 30 brands of condoms from 12 countries. Imports reached 150 tonnes in 1999, but more recent figures were not given. There are also several Sino-foreign joint ventures producing condoms for the domestic market. The report went on to criticise the chaotic state of the condom market and said that the free distribution of condoms imposed a financial burden on the government.