The smaller city of Jieshou made a similar purchase two weeks later.
“In recent times in Jieshou City, the cremation business volume has increased, the funeral hall’s remains refrigerator cannot meet the current unit demand. Now need to purchase 10 units of all-in-one three-door freezers, for a total investment of about 400,000 yuan,” the tender read.
The facility could not be reached for comment.
Guangdong, China’s most populous province, and where Shantou city is located, saw its funeral homes spend more than 130 million yuan between Dec 7 and Jan 6 on various items, compared with 90 million yuan in the same period the previous year, according to a provincial government database.
Hangtai, a manufacturer of incinerators in Shandong province, published an advertisement for its services on its WeChat account noting the jump in demand.
“In December 2022, the country adjusted its COVID-19 policy, the cremation business of funeral parlours surged, and the demand for cremation equipment from funeral parlours in some areas increased,” it said.
The advertisement for its “quick-assembly intelligent” incinerator stresses the ease and speed with which the machine can function, and how it “is the ideal choice for funeral homes to cope with the current surge in business and the need for additional cremation equipment”.
“Hangtai engineers and technicians have actively responded to the market demand by working around the clock to make further improvements around the technical aspects of fast installation, convenience and durability,” it said.
Hangtai said its 40,000 sq m plant was at full production capacity “working overtime 24 hours to meet the urgent procurement needs of customers”.
On Dec 29, Hangtai beat out eight competitors for one of the largest recent bids, a 23 million yuan (US$3.4 million) deal in Guangzhou, more than half of which will go on eight incinerators, according to publicly available documents reviewed by Reuters.
A Hangtai employee declined to comment when reached by Reuters.