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The Kangde Group and the Rongcheng municipal government have agreed to construct a high performance carbon fiber plant in the city.
The Kangde Group and the Rongcheng municipal government have agreed to construct a high performance carbon fiber plant in the city.

The Kangde Group and the Rongcheng municipal government in Shandong province, China, have reached an agreement to construct a high performance carbon fiber plant with annual production capacity of 66,000 tons.

With an investment of RMB 50 billion, Kangde's carbon fiber plant will be the world's biggest once it comes into operation in 2023.

Zhong Yu, Chariman of Kangde Group, believed that the industrialization era of carbon fiber is arriving, as the demand for lightweight applications grow exponentially in aviation and automotive industries.

The group has created a mass production platform for carbon fiber parts, he revealed, linking up with more than 30 global automotive brands, such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Audi, BAIC Motor, NextEV, Changan Motor, etc. to produce carbon fiber composite parts design and samples for them.

Kangde's target is to make 18 million carbon fiber composite parts in five Chinese cities by 2020. Earlier in July, the group entered into agreement with BAIC Motor and Changzhou municipal government to build an Industry 4.0 smart factory for carbon fiber car body and components, which will produce 6 million parts annually.

Meanwhile, civil aviation is expected to become the largest market in China for high performance carbon fiber by 2020, as Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) begins serial production of C919 and C929 airplanes.

Global carbon fiber producers are also bracing themselves for the surge in demand. For example, Japan's Toray Group is planning to increase carbon fiber capacity to 58,000 tons by 2020; the SGL Group in Germany is also expected to boost its production capacity from 10,000 tons to 40,000 tons.

China will become the biggest market for carbon fiber, with annual demand reaching 110,000 tons in 2020 and 150,000 tons by 2025.

However, China relies on imports to fulfill the market demands. In 2016, of 19,000 tons of carbon fiber consumption, only 3,400 tons of low-end products were produced locally, meaning that 15,600 tons of high performance materials had to be imported.

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