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Slower demand growth is occurring from a massive base, meaning incremental consumption gains remain large.

Stephen Moore

May 30, 2017

2 Min Read
China to continue to rely on high levels of polyethylene resin imports

While China continues to build up its plastics production capacity, continuing demand growth from an increasingly massive base means it is unlikely that the country will ever be self-sufficient, at least for polyethylene resins. “China wants to be self-sufficient but it’s more pragmatic for the Middle East to continue to supply low-cost polyethylene to satisfy part of the market’s requirement,” according to Philippe Schlaepfer, Executive Vice President Performance Chemicals, at South Korean additives supplier Songwon Industrial Group. Current self-sufficiency for polyethylene is 50-55%, whereas it has reached levels of 75-80% for polypropylene and PVC estimates Schlaepfer, who was speaking to PlasticsToday at the recent Chinaplas trade show in Guangzhou.

Songwon’s Qingdao, China-based one pack systems production joint venture is supplying key local players such as Sinopec and PetroChina.

Songwon is well placed to serve both the Middle Eastern and Chinese additive markets, operating one pack system (OPS) plant in both regions. Its joint venture in the northern city of Qingdao with Qingdao Long Fortune Chemical & Auxiliary Co. started production of dust-free OPS products in November 2o16. “There’s been a major shift to OPS in China due to the size of the new polymer plants coming on stream in China,” notes Schlaepfer. “Resin suppliers prefer to feed 5-6 components in a single powder blend.”

Schlaepfer also outlined Songwon’s plans to expand its activities in the PVC stabilizer business outside of home market South Korea. “We have the infrastructure in place for manufacturing solid mixed metal PVC stabilizers in Qingdao and while lead stabilizers are still widely used in China, the pipe and profile market could eventually head to calcium-zinc,” says Schlaepfer.

Songwon is also aggressively promoting its specialty thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomers business, adding a second production line in May to boost production capacity from 7000 tonnes/year up to as much as 15,000 tonnes/year. “We are focusing on high-end customized solutions such as undersea telecom cables and cables used in robotics where abrasion and heat resistance are called for,” says Schlaepfer.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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