China is the world’s largest manufacturer in terms of output and gained a reputation as the “world’s factory” shortly after its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001. Lured by cheap

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‘Literally chaos’: inside the stampede to buy masks and ventilators in China
A “wild feeding frenzy” is under way in China for medical equipment crucial to containing the spread of the coronavirus around the world. Scalpers stake out factories with suitcases loaded with cash to secure millions of surgical masks hot off the production line. Dealers trade ventilators back and forth as if they were cargos of coal before they finally reach the end buyer carrying eye-watering mark-ups. Governments wire eight-figure sums of money for vital equipment only to lose out to another government that was quicker to produce the cash. We are slap bang in the middle of a gold rush for the year’s most sought-after commodities – masks, gloves, thermometers, ventilators, hospital beds,