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Over 85 Hong Kong Companies Armed with Barcode in the Battle Against COVID-19

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The outbreak of COVID-19 in Hong Kong had triggered a wave of panic buying of masks, leading to a short period of shortage in supply. In response, local companies had quickly roused to set up anti-pandemic production lines in Hong Kong to aid the city’s fight against the pandemic.

Up till now, more than 85 companies which supply anti-epidemic items have approached GS1 Hong Kong to apply for barcode, helping to roll out their products to market faster.

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Local Garment Producer Manufactures Disposable Mask and Uses Barcode “Inside-Out”

The shortage of masks in Hong Kong had driven the founder of Li Hung International Company Limited, a garment manufacturer of 20 years, to initiate the production of disposable face mask under their new company – Hong Kong Mask Co. Ltd. -since February this year, aiming to diversify its business.

“Despite our 20+years of experience in the field, we had a number of hurdles to overcome, like the price hike of face mask machine from HK$300,000 to over HK$1,000,000, the soaring price of melt blown fabric (raw material of face masks), and suppliers failing to deliver machines and causing delay.” Their spokesperson said.

The endeavour had paid off as mask production went in operation in early May. The company is now offering EN14683 Type II certified (BFE>99%) disposable face masks, providing the city with an estimated 2.5 million pieces per month, with plans to expand overseas.

Their spokesperson acknowledges that barcodes help them “inside and out”. Externally, the barcode with “489” prefix indicating HK-origin supports them sell in both local and global markets, as it’s a prerequisite for products to be listed on retail stores and e-commerce platforms like Amazon, and worldwide consumers would recognise and be assured of the “Made in Hong Kong” quality. Internally, barcodes can help in inventory management, pick & pack, distribution and sales management etc, bringing huge benefits to the company.

Made-in-HK Mask Makes its Mark in Japan

Specialized in Japanese food trading, Honesty Trading Development Co. Ltd. knows the Japan market like the palm of its hand. As the pandemic unfolded in Japan, the company rolled out their mask production line in Hong Kong with incredible speed. Its mask was ASTM F2100-19-certified with BFE=>99% within 3 weeks. These are attributed to the company’s understanding of the market and its worldwide connections. Their "GOEIDO" masks are currently sold in Japan and Europe via distributors, and its spokesperson hinted their plans to sell in Hong Kong soon.

The company agreed that the international GS1 barcodes are indispensable to global trade, providing a common language for supply chain stakeholders to identify, capture and share data as product moves along the supply chain - from distributors, logistic providers, retailers and even consumers.

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Philanthropic Mask by Social Enterprise Shares Happiness

Operates as a social enterprise, masHker now produces 5,000 boxes of surgical masks every day to fulfill the pre-orders. The company’s 3 production lines are yet to be fully automated, so its co-founder and spokesperson Denis Huen has expanded its manpower threefold and have been working head over heel to fulfill all the orders by end of June.

Coming from ICT / healthcare / social enterprise background, Denis and its co-founders are bonded by the kindred spirit of “Doing Good Feels Good”. In addition to frontline healthcare staff, they believe patients and their families are in dire need of masks for they access hospitals or clinics regularly.

The company launched a 'Buy 2 Donate 1' pre-order scheme which for every two boxes of masks (HKD248 for two boxes of 51 pcs) purchased, one box will be donated by masHker to different local patient groups in need, e.g. Hong Kong Alliance of Patients' Organizations. It helps to share their mission of “Doing Good Feels Good”.

Denis said their masks meet certain criteria in ASTM F2100-19 and EN14683:2019 standards like BFE>=99%, effectively blocking bacteria from body. masHker has also applied for GS1 barcode standard because the “489” prefix means Hong Kong registered company, increasing trust and recognition for its brand and products. As the unique ID for products, barcode also facilitates its pick-and-pack and order fulfillment processes.

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Industry-first Reusable Far-infrared Mask Uses REAL Barcode for Authentication

Fake masks had once gone rampant in times of plague. To protect consumers from buying counterfeits and preserve its positive brand image, Super X International Group adopted GS1 Hong Kong’s REAL Barcode solution to perform authentication and boost consumer trust.

The spokesperson highlighted that the patented far-infrared material exclusively used on their ACCAPI FIR mask series, is a result of 13 years of evidence-based clinical practice around the globe, with CE Marking Class I medical devices compliance. Their Xmask series is the first to incorporate Coolmax and silver fabric technology, and even though they are one-of-a-kind, consumers cannot identify the uniqueness with naked eyes.

To prevent copycats, the company decided to adopt the trustworthy and cost-effective REAL Barcode onto its 3 series of masks, including the handmade artistry Queen Mask series. Printed with durable materials, the REAL Barcode can still be scanned even after multiple washing, enabling consumers to use for a long time.

There are 500 different styles of masks in the above-mentioned series, on which consumers can verify whether the product is genuine simply by scanning the QR code with “REAL Barcode” mobile app. Consumers are enabled to further understand the masks’ health benefits, offering a peace of mind for them.

Using state-of-the-art technologies, REAL Barcode integrates patented anti-forgery micro printing, multi-layered digital encryption and GS1 standards to prevent the barcode from forgery.

In addition, the solution also empowers brand owners with real-time visibility on scan activities. If counterfeit goods are scanned, brand owners will be alerted and receive the scan location and other information of the counterfeits.

To enquire more about barcode or REAL Barcode, please email to services-web@gs1hk.org

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