East Asian Market Updates and Latest Opportunities
East Asia is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The three major East Asian countries, China, Japan, and South Korea, are well-recognized as the bellwethers of Asian industry. 2021 was a year full of challenges in both domestic and overseas markets. Amidst the challenges, enterprises on the one hand had to explore new markets. On the other hand, they needed to maintain a stable upstream supply. Other than these, they also shouldered the social responsibility of environmental protection and sustainable development today. East Asia was no exception.
Recently, China and other East Asian regions are gradually gaining their economic recovery momentum. As the world's factory, how can China strive to stabilize global supply? How can Japanese manufacturers reconstruct the supply chain to tackle the impacts of the epidemic? South Korea has recently set up a task force on economic security amid supply chain disruptions. Are the industry prospects bouncing back?
In this feature, CHINAPLAS keeps you abreast of the market trends by sharing market updates and latest opportunities of the East Asian countries.
China’s supply chains have taken hits from COVID-19, power outages, a shortage of shipping containers, and a sudden surge in consumer demand. Even though U.S. demand has rebounded after COVID-19 vaccines became available, supply and logistics have taken time to catch up. Order fulfillment delays have become pervasive and will continue at least through Christmas. The bottlenecks have produced stark winners and losers.
Japan's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in six months in October, an encouraging sign for the world's third-largest economy as it navigates the challenges posed by persistent global raw material and chips shortages.
A decades-old traditional market in Mangwon-dong, western Seoul, known for its affordable fresh produce and tasty street food, has recently been at the forefront of a grassroots plastic-free movement in the neighborhood.Mom-and-pop shops and vendors at Mangwon Market in Mapo District have taken part in a campaign to encourage people to bring reusable containers and reduce single-use plastics since May.
LG Chem Joint Innerbottle to establish a ESG recycling platform
LG Chem is partnering with a local start-up Innerbottle to establish a system where plastic bottles are collected directly from customers and completely recycled. LG Chem’s role in the partnership with the start-up will be supplying ecofriendly material for the outer bottles. The two companies will also jointly develop ways to substitute the inner silicon pouch with LG’s nitrile butadiene latex, which requires less material to produce. Apart from ecofriendly material, the partnership includes establishing a system where they can collect used bottles from consumers’ homes and have them automatically categorized for reuse. The recycling system will be first applied to Innerbottle’s beauty packaging from second half of 2021 and will expand to food and medical packaging as well.
YIZUMI Intelligent Factory Will Start Construction: Strives to Achieve Less Manpower Production
The second phase of the YIZUMI China Factory 3 is positioned as an intelligent factory, based on the advanced modern lean concept, adopts the full assembly line production operation mode in the automotive industry, and produces intelligent equipment machinery. In the future, the factory will introduce a large number of intelligent production lines, smart devices and modern industrial software technology, digital technology throughout the whole machine production chain such as order, product design, configuration, production, logistics, final assembly, and delivery. It is expected that in 3-5 years, YIZUMI Intelligent Factory will become a truly transparent and data management plant, to achieve the goal of less manpower. After the project is put into operation, it is expected to support the output value of 4 billion Chinese yuan of YIZUMI injection molding machine product line in the next few years.
Polyplastics Expansion of LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) Polymerization Plant
Polyplastics Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo) has decided to construct the new polymerization plant with the production capacity of 5,000 tons/y at Polyplastics Taiwan Co., Ltd. This new polymerization plant enables the company to have the integrated production of LCP products from polymerization to compounding. In the future, by expanding PTW’s LCP polymerization plant, the Polyplastics Group as a whole will achieve the production capacity of 25,000 tons/y of LCP polymerization. In recent years, the market demand for LCP in electronic components used in information and communication equipment has increased along with the increase in investment for 5G equipment, and it is expected that the applications of LCP will continue to expand with the full-scale support for 5G millimeter waves. Polyplastics will continue to offer high quality and stable supply as a top manufacturer of LCP based on the further growth strategy of LCP business.
Kolon, SK unit team up on degradable plastic
On April, 2021 press release, two Korean top petrochemical players, Kolon Industries and SK Global Chemical teamed up to start mass production of ecofriendly plastic PBAT that naturally degrades in six months. Kolon and SK have been jointly working on developing PBAT since 2020. The goal is to increase capacity for PBAT production to 50,000 tons a year by 2023 to respond to market needs for ecofriendly plastic. The market outlook for PBAT demand is bright considering the number of governments pushing to reduce consumption of disposable plastic. PBAT is only the start of the Kolon and SK’s partnership in ecofriendly plastic, the companies said. Among other collaborations being considered are finding ways to mix plastic waste in recycled products or developing technology to biodegrade plastic that was not originally made to be ecofriendly.
PetroChina Recorded Net Profit over RMB75 Billion in the First Three Quarters of 2021
PetroChina Company Limited announced that the Company pushed forward its green and low-carbon transformation, production and operation, reform and innovation, and ESG control in the first three quarters of 2021, grasping the favorable opportunities arising from China’s rapid economic recovery, the rebound of the oil and gas market demand and the rise in international oil prices. The oil and gas industry chains maintained stable, and the development quality and efficiency were greatly enhanced. All segments continued to improve their quality and efficiency, and remained profitable. The Refining and Chemicals business achieved an operating profit of RMB31.90 billion, representing an increase of RMB33.658 billion year-on-year. Within which, the chemicals business generated an operating profit of RMB11.857 billion, achieving a historical best performance. The commodity volume of chemical products was 22.695 million tons, representing an increase of 5.5% year-on-year.
Mitsubishi Chemical has its Japan’s 1st Biodegradable Polymer Used to Manufacture Cutlery
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo Japan, announced today that its FORZEAS™ (biodegradable polymer compound) is to be used for cutlery made by Tosho Chemical Co., Ltd. This will be the first time that a biodegradable polymer will be used to manufacture cutlery in Japan. This cutlery made from FORZEAS needed to be smooth to the touch and robust as well as heat resistant. This required repeated improvements in both Mitsubishi compounding technology and Tosho Chemical’s injection molding technology to create a commercially viable product. Currently, there is a growing desire to address the environmental issues caused by plastic. MCC will continue to expedite its R&D and development of new applications for biodegradable plant-derived polymers such as BioPBS and FORZEAS in order to contribute to creation of a circular society and achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
SK Chemicals mass-produces chemically recycled plastic in world first
South Korean chemical company SK Chemicals Co. partners with Chinese company Shuye Environmental Technology Co. to launch the mass production of ECOTRIA CR, a polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) copolyester product that is made from chemically recycled material, for the first time in the world. SK Chemicals plans to churn out more than 10,000 tons of ECOTRIA CR by 2022 and supply it to major cosmetics brands in and outside of Korea. Chemical recycling refers to the process in which waste plastics are decomposed into their pure material state and then used for the production of high polymer plastics. Compared to physical recycling methods, in which waste plastics are pulverized and processed, this method prevents the deterioration of product quality while enabling recycling in a repeated manner. The company noted that the demand for ECOTRIA CR would be high in the areas of cosmetics containers, food packaging, home electronics and daily necessities since it features a high level of safety and materializes copolyester’s inherent features.
Tederic won the first prize with breakthrough in scientific and technological innovation
On June 15 2021, Zhejiang Province Science and Technology Award Conference was held in Hangzhou. The 2020 Zhejiang Science and Technology Award, Natural Science Award, Technological Invention Award, Science and Technology Progress Award and International Science and Technology Cooperation Award were awarded at the conference site to commend outstanding contributors in the province's science and technology field. Among them, the R&D project of Tederic Machinery Co., Ltd. "R&D and industrialization of injection molding process and equipment for large Complex Optical Grade Parts" won the first Science and Technology Progress Award of Zhejiang Province.
Full-Scale Production of ABS Resin at New Toray’s Facilities at Malaysia
Tokyo-based chemical giant Toray Industries Inc. has boosted its group's manufacturing capacity for ABS resin as a new plant of its Malaysian unit begins full production. The new factory has boosted Toray Plastics (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.'s output capacity for the group's "Toyolac" acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin by about 20 percent to 425,000 tons annually. Combined with output at a plant in Tokyo, the Toray Group is now capable of making some 497,000 tons of ABS resin annually, it said. The company accordingly aims to capture rising demand for transparent ABS resin and enhance supply stability by reinforcing collaboration between the Chiba Plant and Toray Plastics (Malaysia) TPM.
Lotte Chemical develops eco-friendly shrink label for PET bottles
Lotte Chemical, major chemical company based in South Korea, has developed a non-adhesive "shrink" label for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Labels can be easily separated and float above the water when waste bottles are cleaned for recycling. Lotte Chemical said its new label is non-adhesive and can be separated with ease due to the weaker strength of perforated lines. "Through the new label, we will contribute to the recycling of PET bottles and expand the development of eco-friendly products in the future.
Venture Global and Sinopec Announce Historic LNG Sales and Purchase Agreements
Venture Global LNG and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) announced the signing of two 20-year Sales and Purchase Agreements (SPA) for the supply of a total of 4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG from Venture Global's export facility. This represents the largest single LNG supply deal ever signed by a US company and will double imports of US LNG to China. Sinopec has been pursuing low-carbon, green, safe, responsible and sustainable development, seeking high quality growth of its natural gas business, The LNG contract with Venture Global LNG reflects the two companies' high consensus on supporting the global energy transformation and is of significance in achieving carbon emission peak and neutrality goals.
Toyobo set to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
The Japan leading performance fiber manufacturer Toyobo Co., Ltd. sets to establish the Carbon Neutral Strategies Council and the Carbon Neutral Strategies Cross-Functional Team as of April 1, 2021, to formulate and promote Toyobo Group’s strategies to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. Toyobo Group has been keenly aware that global warming and related climate change present a major risk to continuing its business activities and has set the goal of “achieving carbon neutrality” by attaining net zero greenhouse gas emissions by fiscal 2050.
In September, TÜV Rheinland awarded Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co., Ltd. the world’s first Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) Recycled Content certificate for its halogen-free flame-retardant reinforced PBT. TÜV Rheinland’s certification services are based on internationally accepted evaluation criteria that ensure data authenticity and accuracy. The OBP Recycled Content certificate awarded to Kingfa is based on two standards—EN 15343-2007 and ISO14021— for source traceability, chain supervision, and content verification of OBP. This certification signifies that Kingfa has reached internationally accepted standards in the use of OBP materials, ensuring that the products it provides meet consistently high standards. TÜV Rheinland will join hands with Kingfa for in-depth cooperation in the sustainability business sector and fully support its production of environmentally friendly high-quality recycled plastic products, to achieve the goal of low-carbon transformation. The two parties expect to rapidly establish global, full-chain in-depth strategic cooperation in terms of sustainability.