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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Razer to set up Singapore production line for surgical masks

With the aim to produce 'a couple of million' masks a month, this plan for its production lines in Singapore comes after the games hardware manufacturer had already converted production lines in China to generate surgical masks.

Razer has unveiled plans to set up a manufacturing line in Singapore to produce surgical masks, with the aim to churn 2 million units a month. The announcement comes after the games hardware manufacturer already has converted production lines in China to generate face masks. 

Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang said on his Facebook page Wednesday that it delivered supplies to Singapore's National Council of Social Service. The batch comprised face masks that had come off its converted manufacturing lines in China as well as others that the Singapore-based company had procured or purchased for donations, said Tan. 

It is now looking to set up a fully automated manufacturing line in Singapore within 30 days to ramp up its production of masks, he said. 

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The CEO was aiming to produce "a couple of million certified masks" a month, with the possibility of expanding the figure if needed. Masks produced out of the local site would be allocated to the city-state as well as other Southeast Asian markets that required them, he said.

Adding that Razer would fund the initial set up of the manufacturing line, Tan called for Singapore companies to step up and purchase $50,000 batches of face masks off the line. He later updated with a post to say Frasers Property, JustCo, and PBA Group had each pledged to buy $50,000 worth of masks from the first locally produced batch. 

In a LinkedIn post Tuesday, he said the company had been met with several challenges in its efforts to ship the initial batch of masks, including flight space and material shortage.

Razer said in a separate press release that its initial move to convert existing production lines in China -- which would make and donate the surgical masks -- was insufficient to meet the "extreme shortage of face masks and PPEs" (personal protection equipment). 

It said it was inundated with requests, especially from Southeast Asia, for the company to set up a production line in Singapore. 

Razer said: "Many of the face masks in the market are not properly manufactured, do not meet certification standards, and offer little or no protection to the users." It noted that masks coming off its local production line would be certified to Singapore and international standards.

The games hardware manufacturer last month said it planned to donate up to 1 million surgical masks to health authorities worldwide, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and help plug the shortage of PPEs. At the time, Tan said: "Over the past few days, our designers and engineers have been working 24-hour shifts to convert some of our existing manufacturing lines to produce surgical masks so that we can donate them to countries around the world."

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