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Asian Chemical Connections

Innovating Down The Value Chain

By John Richardson THE lack of depth and thought behind “analysis” of the economic challenges facing developing economies has worried the blog for some time. It is undoubtedly the case that as hundreds of millions more people in countries such as India and China emerge from poverty, the opportunities for the chemicals industry are enormous. […]

A Dramatic Difference In Mood

By John Richardson THE big difference in the mood at the ground level of certain parts of the petrochemicals industry compared with that of company board members and investors was thrown into further stark relief earlier this week. As we discussed on Tuesday, the big polyolefins sector of this industry continues to struggle in China. Growth […]

There Is No Going Back

By John Richardson “IF we build polymer capacity in India the demand will come,” a very senior industry executive told the blog last year. He amplified this statement by explaining that greater availability of plastics would always stimulate strong demand growth for low-end packaging materials etc in emerging markets in general, as the poor became […]

Bullish on styrene and benzene

By Malini Hariharan Styrene’s addition by the US to a list of ‘anticipated carcinogens’ does not seem to have affected producers demand growth expectations for the product or for its key feedstock benzene. Speaking at the 5th ICIS Asian Aromatics and Derivatives Conference in Singapore earlier this week, Alexander Farina, Shell Chemical’s general manager for […]

Opportunities Can Vanish Before You Know It

By John Richardson “Just when you think it is the right time to make an investment case to a board of directors, the particular opportunity you have been studying has an annoying habit of disappearing,” said a business development manager for a global polyolefins producer. His comments reflect the increasingly complex world in which we […]

The China Intellectual Property Right Dilemma

By John Richardson INTELLECTUAL property right protection has long been a nightmare in China thanks to the ability of government research institutions to rapidly and very effectively copy technologies. Blueprints for these technologies have to be handed over to local authorities by foreign joint-venture partners. The constant challenge is balancing this risk against the enormous […]

Edgy And Nervous CEOs In Deep Contemplation

Davos 2011  Source of picture: eacci.net     By John Richardson THE edginess and nervousness of Asian polyolefin markets we talked about last week is likely to be part of the mindset of any chemicals company CEO right now. As my colleague Nigel Davis wrote about last week, the industry’s financial results for 2010 are […]

Bayer Material Science Outlines Global Strategy

Patrick Thomas Source of picture: Bayer Material Science   By John Richardson SUCCESS in chemicals – whether you are into commodities or specialities – is largely about eking out maximum value from every single molecule in all the important markets. The almost obsessive focus on China and other emerging markets might give the impression that […]

NEW EO-Derivative Investments Planned For Singapore

      Source of picture: chemindustry.org.sg     By John Richardson NEW plants could be built in Singapore downstream of Shell Chemicals plans for optimising high-purity ethylene oxide (EO) production in the city state, the blog was told recently by a senior Shell Chemicals executive. We assume that the new facilities are likely to […]

Making Everyone Feel A Little Bit Middle Class

Far more choices now… Source of picture: www.mhhe.com/business     By John Richardson THE nature of demand growth in emerging markets is a subject the blog has paid some attention to over the last few weeks. Taking advantage of this growth will require the ability to innovate in order to tap into the huge opportunities […]

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