07 November 2012 15:37 [Source: ICIS news]
BERLIN (ICIS)--Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including automotive, household and electronic goods companies have proven to be the earliest adopters of bioplastics in the country, Asia-focused market analysis firm SusTech Consult said on Wednesday.
A survey of over 100 companies operating in China carried out by the firm – made up of 75% domestic companies, and 25% foreign companies operating in China – revealed that out of the 5% of respondents that had used bioplastics, 60% were Chinese OEMs.
Foreign companies had rated bio-based materials as a higher priority than Chinese companies, but had not been as ready to buy into the industry, according to SusTech owner Bruno Rudnik
“Chinese OEMs were the first movers with bioplastics in the country. Foreign companies ranked their importance more highly [than Chinese companies], but if you look at who was actually using these materials, it was the Chinese OEMs,” he said, speaking at the European Bioplastics annual conference.
Out of the 95% of respondents that had not used bioplastics in their production cycles, 38% cited higher costs as the key reason for the decision, while 18% were unaware of the bioplastics industry.
“I’m not going to say that bioplastics in China is low-hanging fruit, but I believe that this not a bad time to start educating companies in China about the industry,” Rudnik said.
China currently has a total bioplastics production capacity of 300,000 tonnes/year, although capacity utilisation currently stands at around 50%, and 90% of bioplastics produced are for export, leaving a current domestic annual domestic market demand at 20,000 tonnes, according to Rudnik. However, capacity is still expected to double by 2015, he added.
China has started to place more emphasis on environmental concerns in recent years, as slowing GDP growth and the growing demand for environmental safeguards from the country’s growing middle class bring those issues into the foreground.
The country is currently the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter in the world, with emission levels on a per capita basis not far behind Europe, according to Rudnik.
“China is rapidly developing away from this pure focus on economic growth, more towards more inclusive growth,” he said.
China is expected to inaugurate Xi Jinping, the new leader of the country’s ruling Communist Party, on Thursday, following on from Barack Obama’s re-election as US President.
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