Condom sales in China are booming as people increasingly become health conscious and break sexual taboos.
"Several years ago, when consumers were selecting condoms, they did it in a most covert way.
Now, there are couples overtly selecting condoms together," Su Ding, a saleswoman at a Beijing branch of the Watsons pharmacy chain, said.
Ding added that Durex condoms with a vibration ring, priced at 60 yuan, were an instant hit with dozens going off the shelves in the very first hour they were introduced.
Tao Ran, deputy director of the China Rubber Industry Association and president of Gobon Latex Products Manufactory, said: "The condom market in China is booming. The country is expected to produce more than six billion condoms in 2009."
Gobon has a target to produce over 710 million condoms this year.
About 30percent will be bought by the government while nearly 50percent will be exported to Europe, the US and Africa.
China's condom market, which was worth six billion yuan in 2006, is likely to cross the 30 billion yuan mark by the next year, reports the China Daily.
In 2006, the Chinese bought about two billion condoms, the highest in the world after the UK, the US and Japan.
In fact after 2006, condom sale has surged by 15 percent every year.
"In China, the condom has become a combination of medical product and consumer good," Wen Jingfeng, founder and president of Beijing Adam and Eve Health Center, said.
Over 1.7 billion condoms were bought by the government in 2006 for free distribution.
A family-planning officer with the Xiaoguan Sub-district Office in Beijing's Chaoyang district, said:
"The number of free condoms we provide in the community keeps growing because more residents with different incomes and backgrounds are becoming willing to use condoms."