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Keywords of this article:  injection molding 
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Plastic processing industry is the largest industrial sector in China's light industry. To ensure steady growth of the light industry, the Chinese government announced the "Light Industry Readjustment and Revitalization Program", which underlined plastics as one of the three "key industries" to be developed in China. Liao Zhengpin, President of China Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA), commented on the industry's enormous growing potential: "China's plastics industry promises great potential for further development, being fueled by huge demand in the country for plastics packaging materials, construction material and engineering plastics as well as plastics products with eco-friendly, energy saving features. The outlook of China's plastics processing industry remains positive despite the global financial crisis."
Liao Zhengpin reports the strong showing of China's plastics industry in 2009
Liao Zhengpin reports the strong showing of China's plastics industry in 2009
Guangdong ranked No.1 again in plastic products

Based on statistics from NBSC, China outputted 44,793KT of plastic products from January to December 2009, up 10.64% year on year while Guangdong hit 10,523KT (8,390KT in 2008), ranked first among all provinces in the country and accounted for 23.49% in total output of the country. Next come Zhejiang, 8,115KT (+6.6%), accounting for 18.12%; Shandong, 4,385KT (+12.37%), accounting for 9.79%; Jiangsu, 4,014KT (+10.05%), accounting for 8.96%; and Liaoning, 2,752KT (+18.56%), accounting for 6.14%.

Of the top five provinces, Shandong, Liaoning and Jiangsu have undergone significant growths, though they have less than half of Guangdong's output volume. Fu An, President of Guangdong Plastics Industry Association, told reporters from CPRJ International, "Guangdong's plastics industry started to pick in July 2009 and maintained the monthly output of around 900-1,000KT, making Guangdong the first province in China to exceed 10,000KT in annual output." He pointed out: "There are several factors leading to this. First, Guangdong always has the country-leading foundation for its plastics industry. Secondly, Guangdong is forging ahead in the direction of high-end products and multifunctional products are finding increasingly more applications from household appliances to automobile, food packaging and high-end general applications. Meanwhile, the sectors specialized in these plastic products were not immediately affected by the crisis.


Output and growth rate of China's plastic processing industry in 2009
Guangdong ranked first in the country for five of the ten plastic product categories. Specifically, they are daily plastic products (accounting for 35.43% in the country), plastics pipe and fitting (16.86%), plastic panels/sheets (21.92%), plastic packaging box and container (17.22%) and other plastic products (40.46%).

For output of plastic film, plastic artificial/synthetic leather and plastic strip/rod/profile, Zhejiang ranked first in the country. Specifically, Zhejiang accounts for 43.3% in the country for plastic artificial/synthetic leather. For output of agricultural film, plastic filament/ropes and woven products, Shandong ranked first in the country. For output of plastic foam, Jiangsu ranked first in the country, accounting for 32.86% in the country and slightly outperforming Guangdong (31.57%).

Of the ten plastic product categories, Guangdong witnessed growth in all categories except "Other plastic products" (-4.24%). Their growth rates (in descending order): plastic filament/rope and woven products (26.58%), plastic packaging box and container (20.67%), plastic strip/rod/profile (19.19%) and pipe/fitting (18.92%).

Besides the above five regions, other provinces exceeding 1,000KT in total output include Hebei (1,596KT), Anhui (1,464KT), Fujian (1,446KT), Sichuan (1,412KT), Hubei (1,205KT) and Shanghai (1,169KT). Specifically, Sichuan underwent high-speed growth (43.08%) year on year. Total output of the nine provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities in Western China (Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang) accounted for 7.22% in total output of the country. Output for Chongqing hit 499KT, up 61.07% year on year.

Based on China Customs statistics, total export volume and value of plastic products in 2009 China hit 6,559KT and US$14.4 billion, down 12% and 10.1% year on year respectively. Except February, which export was only 312KT, the export in all other months exceeded 500KT, while in September and December the export even exceeded 600KT. Specifically, export in December hit 638KT and counting US$1.66 billion, up 16% and 31% month on month.

Based on figures released by China Customs, China's total import of plastics in primary form hit 23,810KT and US$34.79 billion, up 34.5% and 2.2% year on year respectively. Specifically, import in January and October hit the bottom, dropping to 1,310KT and 1,660KT respectively, while import for the other 7 months exceeded 2,000KT. Import in June and July reached the highest point in the year, hitting 2,310KT and 2,330KT respectively. However, December reached the highest point in import value, hitting US$3.64 billion (2,190KT in import volume), up 18% month on month.

According to NBSC statistics, China's total output of plastics in primary form (plastics and resin copolymer) hit 36,032KT, up 11.82% year on year. Specifically, Jiangsu ranked first in the country (5,332KT, accounting for 14.80% in total output of the country) and next came Guangdong (4,193KT, 11.64%), Zhejianig (3,839KT, 10.65%), Shanghai (3,048KT, 8.46%) and Shandong (2,795KT, 7.76%).

Still trade deficit for processing equipment sector

According to NBSC statistics, China turned out 205,000 sets of plastic processing equipment in 2009, down 19.03% year on year. Equipment manufacturing is highly clustered in several regions. Specifically, Zhejiang is the largest manufacturing base, accounting for 42.72% in total output of the country while Guangdong and Shandong accounted for 25.03% and 24.27% respectively. Total output of the three provinces accounted for more than 90% in the country.

Based on China Customs statistics, China imported 32,000 sets of plastic processing equipment (US$760 million) and exported 8,315 sets (US$1.26 billion) in 2009, showing clearly a huge trade deficit for the machinery sector. In terms of specific categories, trade deficit existed for all plastic machinery categories except hollow molding machinery where export was slightly higher than import.

Injection molding machinery maintained its leading position both in export and import. Export hit 11,000 sets (-40%) and US%360 million (-34.3%) while import hit 5,274 sets (-49.1%) and US$ 520 million (-41.4%). Besides injection molding machinery, extruder and blow-molding machinery also exceed US$100 million in export value, hitting US$140 million (-31.5%) and US$110 million (+2.3%). Calendering machinery export reached US$9.83 million, representing the lowest export value. It should be noted that hollow molding machinery export hit 2,553 sets, up 172.5% year on year while import dropped to 71 sets (-37.2%). In terms of import value, injection molding machinery ranks first and next came extruder, blow-molding machinery and pelletizing machinery, all exceeding US$100 million in import value.

According to Su Dongping, Secretary General of China Plastic Machine Industry Association: "Though import and export in the year are no so good compared with previous year, yet overall situation is almost the same with previous year, which indicates domestic sale is playing an increasingly important role. The good result is inseparable from the overall development of Chinese economy."

To sum up, while China plastic processing industry has maintained high-speed growth and accomplished outstanding achievements in the past years, the industry is also faced with many challenges. For instance, the lack of strong capacity in proprietary innovation, low added value for export products, excessive dependence on import for core technology and equipment. The industrial structure urgently needs readjustment, while most of the production capacity was distributed in the coastal areas, the development of the Western regions have been slow. For the export market, export products lack diversity where most export products are medium and low-end products and few are high-quality, high added-value products.
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