CHINA / SOCIETY
China’s Yiwu busy with selling Squid Game masks amid power limit, ‘orders booked until March 2022’
Published: Oct 12, 2021 06:47 PM
Wholesalers in Yiwu sell Squid Game masks online. (photo: yiwugo.com)

Wholesalers in Yiwu sell Squid Game masks online. (photo: yiwugo.com)

"Squid Game masks," the masks worn by the characters of the hit TV drama Squid Game, are becoming top selling products in Yiwu of East China's Zhejiang Province, one of the world's largest small commodities trade hubs. Several manufacturers in Yiwu told the Global Times that they are busy with making the masks to meet the soaring market demand, although their production capacity is restricted by the current power limit policy.

Huayu Toys, a local toy wholesale shop, said it has been selling more than 10,000 Squid Game masks per day since the beginning of this month, some 80 percent of which are exported overseas. 

"We could have sold more if there was no power limit," said the shop's owner surnamed Peng.

Most of the masks are pre-sold due to limited production, Peng said. "If you buy the pre-sold ones today, you will have to wait until October 18 [to get the products]," she told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The four types of masks - a all-black one and three respectively painted with circular, triangle and square patterns - are all sold at 3.8 yuan ($0.59) for each at Peng's shop. The price for masks in stock is higher, "5 yuan," Peng said.

On international online shopping platforms including Amazon, the retail price of a Squid Game mask is $12-17, the Global Times found. 

The high profit in overseas market has made demand for the masks largely exceed supply, especially during the forthcoming Halloween sales blitz, said some mold factories in Yiwu, which rushed to make the mask molds in late September when the drama started going viral.

Ye Jianhong, general manager of Yiwu Hongtao Mould Factory, said the price of a set of mask molds his factory makes has tripled due to the surging demand. "From around 5,000 yuan to more than 15,000 yuan," Ye told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Most of Ye's clients are from the US and South Korea. Ye said the orders are all booked until March 2022.

Nonetheless, Yiwu's power limit policy, which includes reducing electricity consumption during daytime, has slowed down the factories there. It takes Ye's factory seven to eight days to make a set of Squid Mask molds, three days longer than usual, Ye said.

"Now I seldom take big orders," he said.

To deal with the insufficient production capacity, some workshops in Yiwu have started using generators, Peng said. "I think the situation will get better before long."

Squid Game is the latest hit Korean show on Netflix that ranks top in more than 80 countries and regions, showed data on streaming analytics platform FlixPatrol. It centers on a contest where 456 players play a series of children's games with deadly penalties to win a $38 million prize.
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