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Security firm sees sales increase after school incidents

Updated: 2010-11-06

BEIJING - Security products maker Huadun Technology has seen its sales increase more than seven-fold after a string of fatal incidents at schools earlier this year prompted a nationwide initiative to boost security levels.

The military-backed company, based in Nanjing, said monthly sales of its major product line, the "Capture Fork", increased from 1,000 in January to more than 7,000 in August. The fork, a crescent-shaped device made of aerometal, is used to keep offenders in check, and each sells for about 2,800 yuan ($420).

"The way we do business has totally changed since the second quarter. Instead of peddling (goods) around, customers are flooding to us," said Chen Zengguo, owner of the company which was founded in 2006. "The police and schools account for nearly all of our customers."

In October, Huadun donated 100 capture forks to Beijing police in an effort to tap into its potential customer base.

Since March 23, when a man fatally stabbed eight children outside a Fujian province elementary school, at least 18 children - all of kindergarten or primary-school age - and 5 adults have died in a series of campus attacks. At least 66 other children have been wounded.

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The attacks exposed lax security in the country's schools and kindergartens, especially those in rural and underdeveloped areas.

In May, top Chinese officials pledged to grant more funds to equip schools with extra safety equipment and security staff. That move has brought huge business opportunities for companies such Huadun.

At the end of 2009, China had approximately 280,000 elementary schools and 86,300 junior and senior high schools, according to a report by the Ministry of Education.

"Our products have great potential," Chen said. "China has so many schools, and as the country gets richer and richer, it will pour more money into them to ensure their security."

He added the company plans to open sales outlets in more than 40 cities and add 100 authorized service providers over two years.

Huadun is also developing a portable satellite-positioning device, which Chen plans to sell to the police and security guards in schools. The device both pinpoints the user's location and allows different users to communicate with each other.

"The product will be launched in October 2011. The Ministry of Public Security has shown interest," Chen said.

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