More than 2,000 truffle moulds were moulded in China last year, making it the world’s largest supplier of moulding to the US and Europe.
It is estimated that the world will need around 1.4 billion moulds for the year, with the United States needing 1.2 billion, France and Germany around 1 billion each, and Britain and Australia around 700 million each.
Shelf mould manufacturing has been the subject of a huge crackdown in China and other countries, and it is thought that the government may soon impose a quota on the number of moulds it can produce.
The industry has also been hit by the rise of cheap Chinese rivals, who use cheaper materials and make moulds with a less-efficient technology, according to Chinese media.
“It is only possible to produce moulds in such low volume,” a Chinese government official told Reuters.
“There is a need for greater manufacturing capacity in China, and to take a more active role in the global market.”‘
Falling prices’The new regulations are expected to come into force in mid-July.
“We are expecting a big rebound in the mould production industry,” said John Chiang, an industry consultant.
“It’s very likely to be the largest year-on-year increase in the industry’s share since 2009.”
This is a big jump from a year ago when China’s domestic demand for moulds fell by almost half.
“In the past, we would be able to get 10 per cent of the market, now we’re getting 40 per cent.”‘
High quality’But Chinese authorities have been taking a tougher line with the industry, and last week the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced it was cutting the maximum number of Chinese workers allowed to work in the country.
“The industry is facing a tough environment with high quality moulds,” said Wang Jiaxin, a researcher with the University of Nottingham’s China Business School.
“If they do not comply, they could face legal action.”