China now has seven factories that make condoms, with an annual capacity of 3 billion condoms. The actual output is 2.2 billion.
Family planning workers hand out 1.2 billion for free to couples. The rest are sold in stores, supermarkets and vending machines.
About 450 million are exported to foreign countries.
The central government spends 160 million yuan (US$19.3 million) each year distributing the condoms for free.
In recent years, the government tried to expand commercialized distribution of condoms by installing more vending machines and increasing the supply in drug stores.
The quality of the condoms has also improved.
One of the factories in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region passed its assessment by the United Nations (UN) Population Fund last year.
The factory has, so far, received two purchase orders from the agency. The products will be sent to 10 countries after quality inspection by UN experts.
(China Daily March 18, 2002)