The Chinese market is undoubtedly strategic in the polyurethane sector and at Concentrol we maintain a close collaboration with China. It is a market that stands out for being a leader in the production of vehicles and footwear worldwide, besides exporting a relevant volume of paints. Since these production sectors are of strategic importance for Concentrol and its Mold release agents and Chemical Specialities divisions, it is very important for the Concentrol to expand our knowledge and fully understand the Chinese market.

Leading vehicle manufacturers in the world

China was the world's leading vehicle manufacturer in 2017, doubling the second leading vehicle manufacturer (United States). In total, China manufactured 29.01 million vehicles, while the United States manufactured 11.18 million, Japan 9.96 million and fourth, Germany, 5.64 million. Spain is in the eighth position in the ranking of vehicle manufacturers, with a total of 2.84 million cars manufactured.

The country's leadership in the automotive sector is key to understanding the importance of the Chinese market for Concentrol, leader among others in mold release agents for polyurethane, essential for the manufacture of upholstery, among others.

Leaders in shoe production

Asia is currently responsible for the manufacture of 87% of the world's footwear. China was the world's leading footwear producer in 2017, with a total of 13,523 million pairs of shoes manufactured out of a global total of 23,500 million pairs manufactured. The leading countries that follow are India, with 2,409 million pairs manufactured, Vietnam, with 1,100 million manufactured, and Indonesia, with 1083 million pairs.

Currently for shoe soles, where solvent based products are normally used, there is a growing interest in the use of water based release agents, either ready for use or concentrates to dilute. The advantages of these products are the elimination of VOCs of direct emission into the atmosphere and improvement of the working environment in the production line.

China and the environment

Concentrol is present annually at PU China, organized by Crain Communications Ltd, Minmetals Corporation and China Polyurethane Industry Association (CPUIA). PU China is the most established annual event on the polyurethane market in the region. At the last PU China (2018) a high interest in the environment was detected by the exhibitors. China is making a change regarding responsible production, as the countries where it exports require high quality standards and respect for the environment and people's health.

It is for this reason that the Chinese market is increasingly interested in tin-free mold release agents for polyurethane (PU), which reduce their toxicity or flammability and are replacing limited use or prohibited compounds with this type of product.

Concentrol's commitment to provide more sustainable chemical solutions for the environment and people's health, as well as the company's vast experience and reliability are a great argument for Chinese companies to trust our products.

Parallel to this change of mentality, which currently prioritizes in many cases the environment and health over economy, China has also made a change of mentality with the workspace in factories, which is already roomier and more respectful to the worker. Aspects such as care and respect for the industry's surroundings, such as water and landscape, are also now valued in the country.

Chinese economy

In the last two years, China has annually imported an average of 1,600,000 million Euros. The trend in imports has even increased in 2017 and is on the rise. Its GDP is also growing, currently standing at around 2.55 trillion Euros and the country is ranked number one in the world's economy.

Regarding the main economic sectors, the secondary sector represents 47% of the Chinese GDP; the service sector represents 43% of GDP, and employs more than half of the active population. The primary sector represents only 10% of GDP.