Industry Applications


Development Status & Trends of Plastics in the Automobile Industry

The Development Status of the Automobile Industry in 2016

The development of the automobile market in China 2016 can be summed up as stable and on the rise. Despite the declining economy, the tendency of turning downward was not happened in the automobile market in China for the 1st half of 2016. Home-made cars, passenger cars in particular, are gaining more market share, while the market of new energy vehicles has also maintained high growth.

The sales of automobiles in China has achieved sound growth in 1st half of 2016, with 12,830,000 automobiles sold in the period, rising 8% from a year earlier, a big contrast compared to zero growth at the same time last year. There are 10,443,000 passenger cars sold, rising 11% from a year earlier. The sales of SUV are very strong, with 3,816,000 sold, rising 44.6% from a year earlier. Also, vehicles of self-owned brands have recorded very encouraging sales data, taking up 40% market share, a 2% increase compared to last year. It is worth mentioning that the sales of new energy vehicles in 1st half of 2016 are 120,000, rapidly rising 135% from last year.

In 1st half of 2016, SAIC has sold 3,000,000 cars, rising 419% from a year earlier, with operating revenue of CNY 351.2 billion, rising 8.54% from a year earlier. SAIC-Volkswagen has sold 968,700 cars, rising 3.19% from a year earlier. SAIC-GM has sold 827,500 cars, rising 4.87% from a year earlier. SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle has sold 109,700 cars, rising 60.84% from a year earlier. SAIC has also obtained great success in emerging markets. Through localization production, the sales of its self-owned brand MG has ranked the top 10 in the Thailand market, rising over 240% from a year earlier. As for the market trend of the automobile market this year, it is expected that it will be in the shape of a parabola, i.e. low growth rate in Q1, increased growth in Q2, strong growth of 15%-20% in Q3, and steady growth in Q4. The growth of cars is expected to be 8% this year, while the growth of passengers is expected to be 12%.

Development Trends of the Automobile Industry & Response Measures

There are four main development trends in the automobile industry both at home and abroad: electrical, internet connected, smart, and shared. These are the most critical opportunities as well as biggest challenges in the next five years for the automobile market. The key is innovation, to obtain the core technologies of internet, new energy and smart driving vehicles.

World Energy Council proposed that the sales of new energy vehicles, electric vehicles in particular, should account for 16% of all sales in 2020. This is because the annual demand for passenger cars in China, U.S. and the European Union has surpassed 40,000,000. With more and more strict regulations on fuel and emissions, it is hard for cars with traditional internal combustion engine to meet the requirements, except for electric vehicles. To achieve emission goals by 2020, the European Union should sell 140,000,000 electric vehicles or 11% of total vehicle sales, and U.S. should sell 900,000 electric vehicles or 10% of total vehicle sales, and China should sell 5,300,000 electric vehicles or 22% of total vehicle sales. Consequently, new energy cars have bright market prospects and great potential.

The Roewe RX5, "the world's first mass-produced internet car", which was jointly launched by SAIC and Alibaba two months ago, is a real representative of internet connected cars in the automobile market. Its excellent design and strong driving force have won praises from many SUV lovers and technology enthusiasts. Its sales were close to 10,000 in August alone, i.e. a Roewe RX5 is sold in every two minutes. Roewe RX5 has become a star car model with over 40,000 sold by now.

Intelligent driving is also an important trend for future cars. As is forecasted by related institutions, the market size of high-end cars with assisted driving is expected to reach CNY 200 billion. In the development planning of automobile industry of the 13th Five-Year Plan, internet connected smart cars will be actively developed and prepared for the comprehensive generalization in the future. Connected smart cars with assisted driving will take up 50% of the new car models, and automatic cars will take up 10% of new car models. Though the technologies of internet connected smart cars are not mature yet, many enterprises of automobile enterprise and giant car parts makers have already been positively engaged in. There are also many designs, developments and explorations toward internet connected cars and automotive driving cars carried out by researchers in China. China's R&D is at the same level with its foreign counterparts. This is a golden opportunity for parts manufacturers and supporting enterprises to enter into the core domains of future cars.

Rubber and plastics are important assembling materials for the automobile industry. It is important to develop lightweight rubber and plastic materials for cars, and to seize the opportunities in the frontiers of automobile technologies, such as, new energy vehicles, internet connected cars and intelligent driving.

Shanghai Automotive Trade Association
September 2016


Application Status and Development Trends of Plastics in the Bicycle Industry

Current Status of the Bicycle Industry

China is the biggest producing country of bicycles and electrical bicycles. Its annual bicycle production output is 85,000,000, accounting for over 65% of the world bicycle production, among which over 55,000,000 bicycles are exported while 30,000,000 are sold in domestic market. Its annual electrical bicycle production output is 25,000,000, most of which are sold in domestic market.

Bicycle paths are constructed throughout the country while many cycling sports activities and cycling races are held all around the nation. These have increased people's consumptions on cycling and further promoted sales of upscale bicycle products. Having world-leading technologies with complete technological rights, China produces 90% of the world's electrical bicycles.

Advantages of Plastic Parts for Bicycles & Electric Bicycles

The development of plastic technology and invention of new composite materials has laid important foundations for weight-reducing of bicycle products. Plastics and plastic composite materials have five unique advantages compared to metallic materials in terms of their applications on bicycles and electric bicycles:

1. Lightweight. Most plastic materials are of lightweight. Even fiber-reinforced composite materials are much lighter than metallic materials. Consequently, using plastic materials is an important way of reducing bicycle weight. Moreover, composite materials integrated with hard metal granules have high mechanical strength and can replace steel in making most of the bicycle parts.

2. Easy shaping. Plastics can be easily molded into complex shapes by injection molding. Steel bicycle saddle supports require many processing procedures, while plastic bicycle saddle supports can be formed in one time with much less time consuming while presenting attractive appearance.

3. Strong corrosion resistance. Plastic parts will not be corroded even if there are damages. However, steel parts often get rusty when there's any damage in its coating or if the pre anti-corrosion measures are not properly done. Plastic or plastic coated bicycle parts are especially suitable for areas with heavy pollutions.

4. Various choices on materials. Various additives can be added in plastics for desired performances, such as, mechanical strength for bicycle frame, or good forming nature, or soft texture for saddle seat and handle bar grips. Pigments can be added to obtain the desired color. There are some plastics, such as, ABS, that can be electroplated to make fenders or chain covers.

5. Can be easily made into optical components. Bicycle reflector (tail light) is an important part in bicycle safety. Bicycles that satisfy all safety requirements can be made out of plastics through high precision plastic molds.

Application Trends of Plastics in the Bicycle Industry

More and more bicycle parts are made of plastics only except drive parts and high strength structures. Based on the properties and development prospects of plastics, it can be predicted that 70% of bicycle parts may be made of plastics.

1. Carbon fibers & plastic composite materials are popular in high-end bicycles
In order to make lightweight bicycles, many bicycle parts are made of high strength and light materials, such as, carbon fibers and plastic composite materials. Carbon fibers are usually used in sports bicycles. Almost all the bicycle parts can be made by carbon fiber except the rotating parts. There are less than five enterprises that can manufacture carbon fiber bicycles in China, with total annual production output around 70,000, most of which are exported to other countries. The popularization of cycling in China has opened a broad market for carbon fiber bicycles. The main gap between the carbon fiber technology in China and in developed countries lies in the manufacture of PAN precursors and carbon fibrous silk.

2. Plastics is indispensable in the development of public bicycle/electrical bicycle sharing programs
Public bicycle sharing programs are strongly supported by the Chinese government. With the success of bicycle sharing program Mobike, it can be predicted that the number of public bicycles will surge in the near future. The storage, circulation and usage of public bicycles are all in the outdoor. Consequently, plastic parts are adopted in public bicycles for better corrosion resistance, fewer breakdowns and less maintenance.

3. Huge demand on plastic parts for children's bicycles
Children's bicycles take up around 15% of the total production output of bicycles in China. More plastic products can be adopted in children's bicycles as children's bicycles require less material strength and are less price sensitive.

4. Electrical bicycles can't do without plastics
China has manufactured 90% of the world's electrical bicycles. The plastic parts on electrical bicycles are irreplaceable. Though plastic parts only take up 8% of the total costs, it is of high absolute value. As export increases with new models, it can be expected that electrical bicycle's demand on plastic parts will increase substantially.

5. Hopeful breakthrough on the R&D of all plastic bicycles
Bicycle enterprises have to keep innovating the material, model and design of bicycles to stay in the tough competition arena both at home and abroad. All plastic bicycles will not only tremendously reduce the weight of bicycles, but will also bring in brand new changes on the appearance and production technologies of bicycles.

Shanghai Bicycle Association

Building & Construction

The Application Status & Development Trends of Plastics in the Pipeline Industry

The plastic pipeline industry in China has overcome many challenges with remarkable achievements in recent years. China has become the biggest producer and consumer of plastic pipelines, with production output of 13.8 megatons in 2015, taking up 18.25% of national plastic production output. The plastic pipeline industry in China has been steadily growing in terms of its production output, export volumes, wide applications, optimised industrial structures, better product quality and etc. The total production output has increased from 8.402 megatons in 2010 to 13.8 megatons in 2015, with an average annual growth rate of 10.43%.

Status of the Industry

The export volume of plastic pipelines has been steadily growing from 396.2 kilotons in 2010 to 544.7 kilotons in 2015, with an average annual growth rate of 6.57%; the export sales has been growing from USD 1.159 billion in 2010 to USD 2.213 billion in 2015, with an annual growth rate of 13.81%. The unit price of exported plastic pipelines in 2015 was 4,062.80 USD/ton, with an increase of 38.89% in compared with the unit price in 2010.

Agricultural pipelines (including safe drinking water project, irrigation and drainage project and etc.), municipal water supplies and the water supply and drainage pipelines are the main applications of plastic pipelines. Take urban water supply pipelines as an example, there are 500,266.59 kilometers of water supply pipelines in 2014, with 23.32% of which are plastic pipelines, according to the investigation and statistics made by China Urban Water Supply and Drainage Association in 2015.

The backbone enterprises in the plastic pipeline industry are speeding up their paces in technological innovation, investing on researching new technologies and new products. Many new products have then emerged with better usability and applications.

They are also applying modification, enhancement and composite technologies on traditional pipeline materials, such as, PVC, PE, and PP, to process into different plastic pipelines, composite pipelines and auxiliary products. The types of plastic products are also becoming more and more complete.

Polyethylene pipelines are becoming larger in diameters, higher in pressure endurance and application temperatures, better in comprehensive performance, and can endure stricter construction conditions. The performance of polyethylene products have been improving with successful applications in different scenarios.

Plastic pipeline manufacturers are applying modification, enhancement and composite technologies as well as post processing technology on polypropylene pipelines. The tenacity and low temperature brittleness of traditional PP-R is greatly improved with expanded applications. Products, such as, high modulus PP materials, large diameter high modulus double-wall corrugated pipes and winding reinforcement pipes, has satisfied requirements on higher ring stiffness, suitable for a wide range of applications in other fields, such as, drainage.

Meanwhile, plastic pipeline manufacturers are more emphasized on quality with awakening brand awareness along with social progress and industrial guidance. As the market is becoming more standard, while there are a few problematic projects, the users become increasingly concerned about the quality of plastic pipelines.

The plastic pipelines industry has been more focused on productivity and the degree of automation more than ever. The invention and application of high efficient extrusion equipment, large length-to-diameter ratio extruders, automatic monitoring and measuring systems, multimode extruding dies, pipe automatic production systems, and automatic packaging machines have not only reduced the labour intensity of production personnel but also increased productivity with lower cost.

The application of replacing lead salt thermal stabilisers with environment-benign heat stabilisers on PVC pipes and pipe fitting has made huge progress in recent years. Currently, environmental friendly auxiliaries such as calcium-zincum composite heat stabilisers are already applied in the production of PVC-U pipes and pipe fittings that are of comparatively large diameters. The replacing work is accelerated and becomes more complete.

Rising production cost and fierce competition in the market have made pipeline enterprises more focused on meeting the energy-saving needs of processing equipment, such as, servo motor reconstruction, wasted heat recovering of traditional heating mode, air cooling, water cooling and tridimensional storage.

Mixed PVC materials are high-speed mixed, and dehumidified and de-dusted in vacuum in production, which is very clean with less pollution. The dehumidification and pre-heat of polyolefin materials facilitated productive and stable production of pipelines. Automatic measuring and adjusting system ensures stable production and reduces waste of raw materials.

Development Trend of the Industry

The State Council of China has announced in June 2014 that the government will strive to complete the renewal of old urban underground pipeline networks, and to establish thorough urban underground pipeline system in 10 years. There are 30 cities selected by the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure as pilot cities of the sponge city construction project. This project will create huge demand for plastic rainwater collection system, water storage devices, plastic check wells, related plastic pipelines and etc. The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure planned to build 389 kilometers of comprehensive utility underground tunnel with total investment of CNY 35.1 billion. According to the statistics, there are 69 cities nationwide that are building comprehensive utility underground tunnels with total length round 1,000 kilometers and total investment around CNY 88 billion.

Development Goals

It is expected that national production output of plastic pipelines will reach 16 megatons by 2020. Most plastic pipeline products are still used in places that may contact with water, mainly in municipal water supply and drainage projects. It is expected that plastic pipelines will have a market share over 55% in pipelines made of all types of materials. The plastic pipeline industry is looking forward to a future of optimised resource configuration and eliminated low production capacity, products of all categories and specifications, excellent ancillary equipment, advanced technologies no less than those of international competitors, consolidated and upgraded traditional market, and expanded applications of plastic pipeline products.

The plastic pipeline industry should put effort into the improvement of product qualities, strengthen supply-side structural reform and brand building, promote self-discipline in the industry, improve product quality and completely eradicate the production and sales of counterfeit and shoddy products.

Shanghai Chemical Building Material Trade Association

Industrial Electrical Appliances

The Application Status & Development Trends of Plastics in Industrial Electrical Appliances

The fast and continuing development of the plastic industry in China has established a complete industrial system with various categories. China's plastic processing machinery was ranked the top of the world, and its production of plastic products and plastic resins ranks the second, providing strong support for the rapid and sustainable development of the electrical appliances industry. New types of engineering plastics have been driving technological innovation and the upgrade of electrical appliances.

1. The Application Status of Plastics in the Industrial Electrical Appliance Industry

There are many power transmission and distribution appliances that can't do without plastics, such as, transformers, cables and cords, high and low voltage electrical appliances, power capacitor, high and low voltage switchgear assembly, relay protection equipment, automatic control systems and etc. Cables and cords contribute the most to the prime operating revenue in the electrical appliance industry. The manufacture of cables and cords is consuming large amount of rubber and plastics, which are the most important raw materials for cables and cords besides copper. Moreover, the low-voltage electrical appliance industry is also a big consumer of engineering plastics and there are over 3,500 low-voltage electrical appliance manufacturers holding 3C Certificate, the mandatory product certification in China, throughout the country. Over 20% of the components of low-voltage electrical appliances are made of plastics. In the production of circuit breakers with plastic casing, the annual consumption of engineering plastics is 27.82 kilotons, and in the production of small circuit breakers, the annual consumption of engineering plastics is 128.45 kilotons. Along with the rapid development of plastic industry, new types of engineering plastics are already widely applied in the electrical appliances.

2. The Outlook of Engineering Plastics in the Market of the Electrical Appliance Industry

Electrical switchgears are important electrical appliances of strict technical requirements, high safety standards and wide applications. It is directly related to the safety and reliability of national electricity generation, state power grid, and connections to every household. Plastic parts are very important electrical insulation components in electrical switchgears. Therefore, the plastic materials used are required to be of high comparative tracking index (CTI), good electric insulativity, dielectric strength, surface resistivity, volume resistivity and considerable mechanical strength. Furthermore, the plastic materials are required to be fairly stable under the action of multiple factors including humidity, temperature, electric fields and mechanical forces, i.e. the plastic materials should be of low water absorption, superior flame retardance and arc resistance, high temperature resistance and weather resistance. The plastic industry in China has provided abundant plastic materials to promote the innovation in the electrical appliance industry. There are two main types of plastics adopted in electrical switchgears: thermosetting plastics, such as, amino molding plastics, BMC, SMC, unsaturated polyester glass fiber, reinforced molding compound and etc., and thermoplastic plastics, such as, nylons, PA6, PA66, PA46, flame retardant PA, PBT, PE, ABS and etc.

Another important reason that plastics are widely used in electrical appliances lies in their the easy processing, high liquidity and low shrinkage, enabling molding into electrical parts of high precision, complicated shapes and thin walls in one time. It will be difficult for electrical switchgears to realise technological innovations on miniaturised, thin-walled, modularised, intelligent and high performance switchgears without plastics. Electrical switchgear parts made of plastics include switch pedestals, covers, casings, arc chutes, handles, coil frameworks, trip levers, principle axis, high-voltage insulators, and etc. Parts made of thermosetting plastics are usually molded by compression or injection, while parts made of thermoplastic plastics are usually molded by injection. Injection molding technologies of thermosetting plastics are already widely applied in China, which has effectively promoted the productivity and capacity of parts made of thermosetting plastics. Some large electrical appliance manufacturers have even adopted injection molding machines with centralised pipeline feeding, fully automatic control and manipulator systems. Injection molding machines equipped with hot runner systems and electro-hydraulic hybrid full electric drive are already used by some manufacturers in recent years.

3. The Electrical Appliance Industry in China Yearns for New Types of Engineering Plastics

The electrical appliance sector has been developing rapidly ever since the Chinese economic reformed. As world economy has been impacted by financial crises, experts have evaluated the impact of financial crises to the electrical appliance industry, and concluded that financial crises will only have very limited impact on the power generation industry. New energy resources, such as, nuclear energy, wind power and solar power will continue to develop steadily except thermal power generation. Therefore, the impact on the power transmission and distribution industry is rare. China's two major power grid companies (State Grid & China Southern Power Grid) will invest CNY 1.4 trillion on the transformation and construction of state power grids and urban and rural power grids. The government also designated CNY 4 trillion investment on building the "smart grids" in China by 2020. It is expected that the prosperity of the electrical appliance industry will continue. The electrical appliance industry has entered a period of technological innovation for product structure adjustment. We are looking forward to the inventions of new types of engineering plastics, which are of better processing, higher electrical performance, high temperature resistance, better flame retardant performance, non-toxic, halogen-free and eco-friendly.

Shanghai Electrical Industry Association
MA, Xueneng
Secretary General

Electronic Manufacturing

Application Prospects of Plastic Materials in the Electronic Manufacturing Industry

Infinite Market Potential of Plastic Flexible OLED Display

Though flexible display only has a small share in the smart phone market, it can be observed that there will be a booming demand for plastic OLED displays in the intelligent electronic device industry, including smart phones, tablets and TVs. According to the forecast from IDTechEx Research, the market of flexible OLED displays will generate over USD 12 billion revenue in this year, and its market size is further expected to reach USD 57 billion by 2026.

The market growth is driven by the upgrade of display materials. There are a few mobile display products that have already shifted from glass substrates to plastic materials, such as, polyamides. Intelligent electronic products with flexible displays, such as, Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple Watch, are already hitting the market.

It is estimated that mobile phones will continue to be the biggest driving force in the display screen market, while tablets and notebooks are expected to play an important role in 2020 as well. The latest flexible OLED panel made of plastics is thinner and lighter than those made of glass, enabling intelligent electronic device manufacturers to make lighter and more beautiful devices while leaving more room for batteries. When the technology becomes mature, it is expected that OLED displays will be remarkably adopted by automobile manufacturers as well.

Furthermore, it is predicted by IDTechEx that real bendable or foldable mobile devices will be produced with the advancement of technologies. In fact, there are already quite a few foldable prototypes exposed to the public, such as, the latest OPPO foldable mobile phone prototype, and Samsung's bendable flexible displays.

It is worth noting that the prediction is made in the background that the two major OLED display manufacturers - Samsung Display and LG Display have announced new investments in OLED production line with expanded capacity. Samsung Display planned to invest over USD 3 billion between 2015 and 2017 for a brand new production line, while LG Display is investing over USD 9 billion for new factories.

The OLED Industry: the Emerge of Plastic and Flexible Displays

According to the forecast of IDTechEx Research, it is possible for the market size of global organic light emitting diodes (OLED) to reach USD 16 billion in 2015, and rapidly develop into a market size of USD 57 billion by 2026.

In the latest investigation report by IDTechEx Research, OLED Display Forecasts: The Rise of Plastic and Flexible Displays, it is pointed out that both of the two major OLED display manufacturers have announced new investments to expand their capacities in OLED displays. Samsung Display planned to invest USD 3 billion to build a new production line between 2015 to 2017, while its competitor LG Display had promised to invest over USD 9 billion for two brand new factories with the aim to lead the industry.

OLED displays produced on flexible substrates are already successfully introduced to the market in consumer devices, such as, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or Apple Watch. Plastic displays are lighter and thinner compared to traditional glass displays, enabling the production of thinner devices or devices with bigger cells.

Furthermore, according to the observation of Guillaume Chansin, the senior technical analyst of IDTechEx, flexible display will realise the production of foldable mobile devices in the future.

Guillaume Chansin emphasised that the appearance of plastic and flexible display is the most critical development trend for the OLED display industry. It has brought more opportunities for the supply chain of the industry. Recently, Kateeva has invested USD 88 billion to accelerate its development. Kateeva's thin film encapsulation system has provided coatings for many flexible OLED displays. All of its new investments are from China, including BOE and TCL Capital.

"Today, we estimate that the market of plastic and flexible displays will reach USD 18 billion before 2020. Two of its main applications in the market are smart phones and smart watches. When the technology becomes more mature, plastic and flexible displays will be applied in automobile monitors with bigger sizes." said Chansin.

Moreover, new applications, such as, AR and VR of wearable devices are entering the market, bringing many more opportunities for suppliers of OLED displays. Companies like Sony, Oculus and HTC have launched VR head-mounted displays with OLED technology. As for AR glasses, OLED micro display will be adopted, replacing LCoS to be the main technology for displays.

Shanghai Electronic Manufacturers Association
WANG, Jing
Deputy Secretary


Close Crossover Collaborations between Lighting Industry and Plastics & Rubber Industry

2016 is the first year of the 13th Five-Year Plan. As it was clearly put forward in the outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan, the development of energy-saving and environmental friendly industries should be promoted with adjusted policies and improved systems. We, the low carbon green lighting industry, should take advantage of this great opportunity to comprehensively upgrade the industry and improve our industry competence in terms of independent innovation, optimisation of industrial structure, informatisation, resource utilisation efficiency and quality efficiency, and crossover collaborations, so as to drive new production modes, industry patterns, business models and economic growth engines.

The total sales volume of the lighting sector has reached CNY 560 billion in China in 2015, with a year-on-year growth of 68.4%. The export volume in 2015 was USD 45 billion, with an accumulative year-on-year growth of 8.3%.

The prime operating revenue of the whole lighting industry in China during January to June 2016 was CNY 213,273 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 5.78%. The prime operating revenue in June alone was CNY 42.358 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 3.41%; the total export volume was CNY 17.65 billion, with a year-on-year decline of 14.1%, which was the first negative growth in the last five years. The lighting industry in China is in the new normality as is the development of Chinese economy. If current trends continue, the indicators of the lighting industry are expected to be achieved at the end of the year with single digit growth.

LED lighting has quickly gained popularity, thanks to its outstanding high performance. "People oriented" lighting has become a new trend in the application of LED lighting. Statistics show that there are surging demand in various applications of intelligent LED lighting, such as, automotive lighting, botanical lighting, surgical lighting, sea transportation lighting, ports lighting and etc. Automotive lighting is generating huge demand potential on high brightness LED lights. According to the forecast made by an authoritative research firm, the global output value of high brightness LED lights in 2017 will be as high as USD 13.18 billion. The market prospect of botanical lighting is also very optimistic. Its global market size was around USD 575 million in 2015 and is expected to develop to USD 1.424 billion by 2020. The global market size of surgical lighting is estimated to be USD 612 million in 2016 and is expected to develop to USD 787 million by 2020. The global output value of sea transportation is estimated to be USD 233 million, while that of port lighting is estimated to be USD 587 million in 2016. The grand concept of intelligent lighting is indispensable in building "Smart City". Currently, there are over 400 cities in China that have planned to build Smart City, with more than 300 cities chosen by the government to join the pilot program of Smart City. There are over 2,600 key projects in the program. The total investment has surpassed CNY 2 trillion, among which 25% are invested by the government, 20% from bank loans, 33% by enterprises and 22% from other sources. The market size of global intelligent lighting was estimated to be USD 1.716 billion in 2015. The market is expected to continue to grow vigorously to USD 13.427 billion by 2020, along with the development of future technology, maturation of products, active promotion of manufacturers, and the popularisation of the intelligent lighting concept.

Continuous development in the lighting industry has created huge demand on various types of plastics and rubber materials with improved performance. For example, the outer shell of energy-saving lights and LED lights requires plastic materials with performances including good liquidity during injecting molding, short molding cycle, easy demoulding, eco-friendly, corrosion resistance, UV resistance and etc. The lampshade of LED lights requires plastic materials with performances including good optical characteristics, smooth and clean appearance, eco-friendly, and anti-aging. The thermal diffusion crust of LED lights requires plastic materials with performances including high thermal conductivity, superior thermo-radiation properties, good workability and etc. Almost all the plastics and rubber products the lighting industry needs are purchased from the market. Plastics and rubber products of fair price and good quality are always the first choice of our lighting manufacturers, though there are also some major lighting manufacturers who have established their own subsidies specialised in the research and production of granules of modified engineering plastics and plastic products. This shows the close relationship between the lighting industry and the plastics and rubber industry.

We will respond to the Made in China 2025 Initiative, implement strategies of building a strong manufacturing sector for China, and coordinate with multiple government measures, such as, "Internet Plus" and "Supply-side Structural Reform". The lighting industry and the plastics and rubber industry should strengthen their communications and collaborations, providing mutual support to each other, and devoting our efforts for a more powerful lighting industry!

Shanghai Illumination Electric Appliance Trade Association
October 2016


Medical Device Industry in China: Development Trends & Medical Applications of High Polymer Materials

I. The Market Size of Medical Devices in China Reached CNY 308 billion in 2015 with a 14-Fold Growth over 14 Years

The sales volume of medical device in China had grown 1428% in 14 years from CNY 17.9 billion in 2001 to CNY 255.6 billion in 2014. The number was CNY 308 billion in 2015, an increase of CNY 52.4 billion or 20.05% in just one year, according to the statics of the Medical Instrument Branch of China Medical Pharmaceutical Material Association.

II. Hospital Sales Account for 70% while Retail Sales Account for 30%

Hospital sales account for 70% of the total sales volume of medical device in China in 2015, while retail sales account for 30%. Sales through E-commerce took up 30% of all retail sales while traditional retail sales held 70%. Take Tmall's Online Pharmacy as an example, its online sales of home medical equipment has surpassed CNY 2 billion.

III. CNY 21.69 Million Average Output Value of Chinese Medical Device Manufacturers in 2015

Medical device manufacturers in China have been steadily increasing since 2007. There were 12,600 manufacturers in 2007, and 16,000 in 2014, the annual growth rate was 3% in 8 years. The number of enterprises holding Medical Device Business Permit had also slowly grown from 161,000 in 2007 to 186,300 in 2015. The market size of medical devices in 2015 was around CNY 308 billion in China. There were 14,200 medical device manufacturers in China in 2015. The average output value for each medical device manufacturer was CNY 15,880,000 in 2014 and CNY 21,690,000 in 2015, with an increase of CNY 5,810,000 in 2015.

IV. Rising Awareness in Brand & Quality with Industry Clusters in the Yangtze River Delta Region, the Pearl River Delta Region & the Bohai Economic Rim

In China, the sales volume of medical device is only one third of that of pharmaceutical products, which is lower than the world average. However, the market is of great potential as huge demand will be generated by the reform of national medical system and growing needs of upgrading old medical devices in national medical and health institutions. Currently, three medical device industry clusters have been formed in China, including the Yangtze River Delta Region, the Pearl River Delta Region & the Bohai Economic Rim. Many backbone medical device manufacturing enterprises have emerged from these industry clusters, such as, Mindray (Shenzhen), Shinva (Shandong), Lepu Medical, Weigao (Shandong) and etc., to name just a few, while quality and brand are becoming the emphases in these emerging major manufacturers.

V. Imminent Rapid Growth Opportunities for High Value Expendable Materials Including Interventional and Implantable Equipment and Artificial Organs

While China's population has been aging rapidly and the government is investing more resources in medical care with favourable policies, its market of medical devices has been continuously growing. High value expendable materials in particular, such as, interventional and implantable equipment and artificial organs for orthopedic and cardiovascular diseases, will be ushered in rapid growth opportunities.

There are close to 10,000 medical device manufacturers in China, 90% of which are SMEs with comparatively weak competitiveness. Foreign products have monopolised most of the high-end markets of medical devices in China, with the only exception of stands. Consequently, high-value medical consumable products in China are relatively expensive.

VI. Household Medical Equipment Market Size in China Expected to Reach CNY 150 billion in the Next Five Years

The household medical equipment sector has been growing rapidly in the past five years. The market scale was CNY 17.66 billion in 2011 and CNY 48 billion in 2015 with a compound annual growth rate close to 22%. The shortage of public medical resources and surging demand on healthcare will continue to boost the market penetration. Moreover, the increasing income of residents and their rising awareness on health management will further provide great room for development for household medical appliances in China and huge business opportunities.

Driven by the accelerating aging process and consumption upgrade, it is expected that the demand for household medical appliances will continue to grow vigorously with an annual growth rate of 25% in the next five years. The market size is expected to reach CNY 150 billion by 2020.

VII. Medical Polymer Materials on Medical Devices Have Great Room of Application in Market

Plastic polymer materials are important types of medical materials mainly applied in fields including artificial organs, surgical reconstruction, physical therapy and rehabilitation, diagnostic examination, and pharmaceutical packing. Currently, there are more than 90 types of plastic polymer materials applied in over 1,800 types of medical products in the world. There are more than 60 types of plastic polymer materials applied in over 400 types of products in China. Medical polymer materials enjoy a series of advantages, such as, high transparency, chemical resistance, good workability, tear resistance, fine elasticity, and which can be sterilised by ethylene oxide and gamma ray. Consequently, medical polymer materials had become the main materials for various medical consumables and the outer shells of medical devices. Medical polymer materials are widely applied in the manufacture of medical devices in China after a decade's development from large-scale diagnostic instruments (such as, medical image devices including X-ray machines, MRI and CT) to various disposable medical supplies (such as, syringes, infusion sets, infusion bags, IV catheters, bladder catheters, drainage tubes/bottles, trachea intubation, trays and many medical non-woven products). Nevertheless, the industry medical polymer materials has just emerged in China. Its output value is only 10% of those of developed countries. Besides, most medical products are consumables. It is expected that medical polymer materials will have great room of application in market, bringing immense business opportunities to medical plastic manufacturers.

Shanghai Medical Instrument Trade Association
September 2016


The Application Status & Development Trends of Plastics in the Packaging Industry

With the booming economy, plastic materials are widely used in various industries, such as, the packaging industry, where plastics are the second mostly used packaging materials.

Not only have plastics become the major packaging materials in consumer goods, but also the major materials in productions and transportation packaging. According to the forecast made by the U.S. consulting firm, Freedonia, the fastest growth of plastic packaging is in drinks and pet foods, followed by candies, baked goods, frozen foods, and detergent and other industrial packaging. A survey in Europe showed similar result indicated that the largest usage of plastic packaging is in the packaging of food and drinks. In broad classification, there are three major categories of plastic packaging products: plastic films, plastic bottles (containers), and industrial plastic packaging.

Plastic films are indispensable raw materials in the packaging industry as well as in many other industries. It is one of the four major packaging materials with the same importance as paper materials. Plastic films have taken up a large portion of market share by its good cost performance and irreplaceability.

Both the strengths and weaknesses of plastic single-layer film materials are evident. However, with the applications of composite technologies and new catalysts, more and more new materials are developed and different composite materials can be utilised to form improved multi-layer film materials, revolutionising the traditional plastic film material industry. Newly developed polyolefin materials include: metallocene PE, MULDPE, special elastomer PE, hexene-1(C6) and octylene -1(C8)LLDPE copolymer, innovative LLDPE resin combining metallocene catalyst technology & bimodal technology, COC, metallocene PP, high strength and transparency MPP, HMSPP and etc.

Plastic bottles (containers) have absolute advantage in the market though there are strong competitions from paper-plastic composite packages, glass bottles and metal cans in dairy products and drinks. Plastic containers have almost dominated the detergent market, while PET bottles made of the latest technology are seizing back the market share in beer bottles and containers for dairy products. These technologies will be the new favourite of the market.

Industrial plastic packaging, with its advantage of cyclic utilisation, is replacing traditional transportation materials and disposable paper packages in traditional industrial system. Thanks to the market segmentation and the increased vertical depth of market, cyclic packaging is penetrating into the industrial market of auto parts, communication equipment and electrical products. On the other hand, traditional blister packaging materials commonly used in toys and small electronic parts are being replaced by new materials with better performance made with more advanced technologies. New technologies in plastics have also made their way to high-end cosmetics packaging.

As can be observed, the marketing strategy of plastic packaging materials can be very proactive and aggressive. However, plastic packaging materials are also facing a number of challenges, such as, resource shortage, environmental impacts and bias judgment on plastic materials. These challenges will be solved if environmental sustainability, lightweight packaging, lean & automatic production can be achieved.

Environmental sustainability is to make the manufacturing and processing of plastic packaging materials more environmental friendly and sustainable. Besides reducing material utilisation amount and reducing waste, the manufacturing process should be clean and energy-saving from the very beginning. A mechanism of recycling or degradation should be well established and improved.

Lightweight packaging is to use the least materials with the same performance and effect. New researches on high performance and multi-functional materials provide possibilities on improvement. Even if the economic aggregate of the plastic packing industry drops, lightweight packaging would still offer more economic value. This should be the direction of development for plastic packaging in China.

Lean and automatic production is to save energy, reduce waste and achieve clean production from the very beginning. It can effectively reduce surplus production and strengthen the manufacturing capabilities of the whole plastic packaging industry in China.

Personal-care & Cosmetics

The Application Status & Development Trends of Plastics in the Personal-care & Cosmetic Packaging Industry

I. Higher Requirement on the Plastic Packaging Market for Body Care Products

The plastic packaging for body care and body cleanse products and toothpastes are of high safety standards. Manufacturers of such plastic packaging products always demand their raw material suppliers to provide production permits and material examination certificates. If there is any auxiliary material that exceeds the defined limit in regulations, safety approval reports by independent safety rating agencies are always required.

II. Personalised Cosmetic Packaging Materials

In the market of cosmetics, product packaging plays a vital role in attracting the attention of consumers on retail shelves. As modern consumers are already familiar with package designs either in mass markets to upscale markets, on glass bottles or plastic bottles, cosmetic marketers are increasingly focused on the innovative and unique of packaging.

In the fierce competition for attracting end-users' attentions, packaging suppliers believe product design has become more important than ever. Personalised needs are driving the customised designs and products. Patented plastic packaging molds are very popular among plastic packaging manufacturers.

III. Multi-layer Composite Plastics Brings New Functions to Cosmetic Packaging

Cosmetic packaging should be protective, functional and decorative. The invention of multi-layer plastic composites suffices the needs for effective preservation of skin care products in a container of luxurious and innovative appearance. Composites are made of multi layers of different types of plastics, which can completely protect cosmetics from light and air, while presenting wonderful visual effect and unique hand feeling to customers. Plastic composites have spectacular extrudability which may help extruding skin care products more evenly. Moreover, multi-layer composites have enhanced the flexibility of tubes. Tubes and glass bottles are the most popular packages for body lotions today. Tube packages were for middle and low-end products 15 years ago. However, it is used by today's most famous brands. Multi-layer composites have increased the protectiveness of tube packages, while providing various visual effects and hand feelings to customers. Tube packages are frequently used for hand lotions, facial cleansers and sun cream. About a quarter of skin care products are stored in tubes.

IV. Vacuum Packages Show Rise in Safety & Health Concerns for Novel Cosmetic Products

Cosmetic products stored in vacuum packages are greatly favoured by consumers. Vacuum packages stand out in storing skin care products containing elements like rosin oil and vitamins. Though it is very expensive and is only available in a few brands, vacuum packages have a number of strengths: strongly protective, highly elastic, suitable for body lotion with high viscosity, and make products look high-tech and expensive. Another important development direction of vacuumed packages lies in its functionality, which is more important for less complicated containers. Usually, vacuum packages are equipped with pressure bump or compression cap, which is very popular among consumers and are already adopted by luxury brands.

Plastic bottle packages for cosmetics are developing ambitiously, replacing quite some glass packages. The advantages of plastic containers always lie in their lightweight, solid structure and easy production. With the efforts of chemists and plastic manufacturers, plastic products have features that only glass could have. Cans of thick shells made by PETG is a typical example. PETG containers have gained popularity in many famous cosmetic brands, such as, Clinique, Avon, Revlon and etc. PETG can be easily dyed into different colours. It is as transparent as glass, and its transparency will not be effected even it is under UV treatment.

V. Safe & Portable, Versatile Applications of Plastic Packaging Materials

The act to replace glass with plastics as packaging material for cosmetics is revolutionary. Cosmetics become more portable and safe to bring with. PET resin containers exude glassy luster and become a major substitute of glass containers. The newly developed technology of polyethylene stretch blow molding has overcome the shortcoming of low transparency of polyethylene blow molded bottles. This technology has become very popular in many countries with high consumption of cosmetics.

Plastic bottles are plastic hollow containers made through various processing methods. It is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy for mass production. It can be easily made into all shapes of bottles with excellent printability. Therefore, plastic bottles have become the main packaging containers for cosmetic products.

Packaging materials could be very different according to different types of cosmetics. Plastic bottles are mainly used for the storage of oil products, emulsion products and surfactant solutions, taking up 40% of aggregate consumption of cosmetic packaging. The market prospect of soft plastic packaged skin care and hair care products is very promising with the development of markets of cosmetics in the rural areas. Consequently, it is expected that small volumes of soft plastic cosmetic packaging will develop rapidly in the near future. Besides, there are many cosmetic enterprises that emphasize on consumer experience in their promotions and marketing by distributing small soft plastic packages of sample sacks in 5 grams, 5ml or 10ml, and have received very positive feedback from customers.