Shanghai--Some expatriates from Europe and Africa complained to Shanghai Daily that they are always embarrassed about "ill-fitting" condoms in the city as almost all of them are designed to a standard Asian size, which may not fit them.
Main condom suppliers including Durex, Jissbon and Okamoto confirmed that they supply condoms only with a common size suitable for Chinese men – their target consumer group.
Sizes of condoms differ in various countries and Chinese condoms, usually 180mm long and 52mm wide, are slightly smaller in length and girth than those being sold in Western countries, some suppliers said.
An official surnamed Zhao with Jissbon said his company has received complaints from some foreigners about Chinese condoms that are sometimes a little bit tight for them. But considering those people are a very tiny part of their consumer group, they haven't considered making bigger ones.
An official surnamed Wang with Okamoto's Beijing retailer said they used to sell bigger condoms with XL sizes in the country, but the business didn't last long as the company didn't earn much profit from it.
For many condom suppliers, although it would be very easy to design condoms of different sizes, the problem lies with high delivery costs, said Zhao with Jissbon.
He said most Chinese condoms are made in other countries such as Thailand and the delivery fee has long been a headache for them. As a result, condoms are usually produced in one size so they can go through fixed production lines to save money, he said.
"To alter their sizes means the factory has to develop another production line, and the goods have to be sent back to China in different batches, which will add to the already high delivery cost," said Zhao.
The short supply of condoms in different sizes in Shanghai has brought problems to some of the city's expats. A European who asked not to be named told Shanghai Daily that the problem has existed for many years and that he always has to bring condoms from his homeland.
He said one of his female friends got pregnant and had to get an abortion because her boyfriend couldn't find a "proper size" condom.
"Many foreigners find it embarrassing to talk about the problem, but it's still there unsolved while posing a danger to us of catching venereal diseases or having unwanted babies in unprotected sex," he said.