Chinese automaker BYD’s [1211:HK] domestic mask manufacturing plant has passed the second review of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) after an on-site inspection in early June, announced by the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, as reported by Caixin on June 9. Although the supply contract was delayed due to the certification issue, NIOSH has accelerated the review process for BYD’s masks, compared to the normal half-year period. In the next few days, BYD’s North American unit will deliver 150m N95 respirators to California.
BYD and California signed the mask supply contract on April 7, with a total amount of USD1bn, providing 300m N95 respirators and 100m surgical masks between May and June. Although BYD’s mask manufacturing unit BYD Precision Manufacture received the COVID-19 emergency use authorizations (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April, it still needs to obtain the NIOSH certification. Due to paperwork issues, NIOSH rejected BYD’s first application. Though BYD failed to complete the certification for N95 respirators by April 30, California did not cancel the contract but extended the expiration date twice. In the meantime, the state added an order of additional 100m surgical masks, after receiving the first batch of 50m surgical masks from BYD in May. At the end of this month, California might also renew the supply contract, as such a possibility was listed in the contract. According to BYD, the total export of masks in May would exceed 1bn pieces, while its current daily output has reached 50m.