InterviewBayer sees healthy polycarbonate growth in China – exec

25 March 2013 09:50  [Source: ICIS news]

By Liu Xin

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) expects polycarbonate (PC) demand to grow at 8% in China this year, a senior company executive said on Monday.

“I am quite confident that we will see rather healthy growth in China this year and I believe we will be looking at a growth rate of around 8% in China,” said Michael Koenig, head of the polycarbonate business unit and a member of the executive committee of Germany-based Bayer MaterialScience (BMS).

The demand growth “will be basically driven by recovery and further growth in automotive particularly in the middle-and-upper-class segment and it will be driven by recovery in the IT industry”, he told ICIS in an interview.

China’s demand growth for PC was estimated at around 6% in 2012 - “a little bit lower than what we usually expect in China” - because of the overall global economic situation, he said.

However, domestic demand has been growing  “very healthy and will continue to grow very healthy,  where we had less growth last year definitely was in the export-oriented businesses”, he added.

“We have, a couple of years ago, started to very significantly focus on our presence in Asia and particularly in China,” he said.

The company has embarked a “Three Pillar” strategy, which means “we focus on further capacity expansion in China, we focus on research and development in China, and we moved our global headquarters to China,” he added.

The company has started construction of a new 200,000 tonne/year PC plant in Caojing, Shanghai , with targeted mechanical completion in 2015, he said.

The company is also expanding its research and development centre in Shanghai, which will offer working space for additional around 150 engineers to work on application development,  business development and more fundamental research, he said.

In the middle of 2011, the company had opened its global business headquarter for PC in Shanghai.

“It has turned out be to a significant contribution to our success here in Asia, simply because we are sitting right in the middle of the most important market, but at the same time Shanghai also offers very easy access to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, where many of the big company headquarters of our customers are located,” he said.

“The establishment of the (Shanghai) headquarters, I believe, was  a very significant step to really change our company and refocus it on what is by far the biggest and most important market for polycarbonate,” he added.

Beyond China, Bayer also sees potential growth in other markets like India and Myanmar.  

“India is a market which will grow probably a little bit below China but also at quite a healthy rate,” he said, while “Myanmar could be an interesting country to look at also from the polycarbonate point of view in a number of years,” he added.

By: Liu Xin
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