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CHINAPLAS 2021: ASEAN region ready for economic and trading recovery
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:05.Mar.2021

The ASEAN region has seen an economy fall for the first time in 22 years due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the uncertainties, the recovery is on calls.


In particular, for the ASEAN-5, is expecting a GDP growth of 5.2% in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) audit of January 2021.


Recovery of China, a boon to the ASEAN


China is estimated to garner a 2.3% growth year-over-year in 2020; and projected to reach 8.1% in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) updated January 2021 economic outlook. The country rebounded more rapidly and re-opened gradually as early as April 2020.


The ASEAN is anticipated to reap the benefits from its trade ties with China, its largest trading partner since 2009; and its fourth-largest external source of foreign investments (FDIs) in 2019, accounting for 5.7% of the region’s total FDIs.


Starting in 2021, partnerships among the ASEAN countries, China, and other trading nations are expected to accelerate recovery in the region. The growth will be driven by the digital transformation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and connectivity cooperation - all of which are underscored in different initiatives.


Meanwhile, for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the ASEAN is vital to its Maritime Silk Road, which will connect China to other trading economies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and the European regions.


ASEAN’s participation in the BRI has witnessed a surge in infrastructure developments which facilitates trade and investments for the ASEAN countries, thereby improving their competence in the global market.


Restoring growth momentum in the medical devices sector


While country lockdowns have caused several industries to push pause buttons, the medical technology sector has grown as demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators, fans, test kits and other essential medical devices has increased and surpassed supply.


Exhibitors will showcase medical related solutions at CHINAPLAS 2021.

Southeast Asia has benefited from its production capacity for PPE and medical devices. Digital healthcare readiness is another advantage. The emerging upper-income economies of countries like Thailand and Malaysia, for example, are both aiming to become the medical hubs of Asia.


In Thailand, medical devices are considered a high value sector, therefore the country has implemented policies enabling investment in projects and machines the industry require. The 10-year strategic plan spanning from 2016 to 2025 will also cover area including medical.


Malaysia offers diverse medical technology and equipment and boasts a strong distribution network via its 13 free industrial zones and other logistics channels. To date, Malaysia has over 200 medical device manufacturers and more than 30 multinational corporations producing high value-added medical devices.


Race to zero-emissions in the growing EV markets


In the ASEAN, the growing momentum to reduce carbon emissions in the environment is setting the stage for the 650 million consumers in the region to switch to green technologies.


In Southeast Asia, the manufacture of EVs is gaining traction. Indonesia, the second largest car producer in the region after Thailand, plans to begin producing EVs in 2022. By 2025, EVs and HEVs will make up 20% of total vehicle production in Indonesia, with the country having good prospects of becoming a regional EV manufacturing center by 2030.


Electric vehicles were attracting attention at CHINAPLAS.

Thailand, the biggest car manufacturer in Southeast Asia, is also expanding its EV industry. The Thailand government has established the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee (NEVPC) that oversees the national EV roadmap targeting to produce 1.2 million EVs by 2035. The country’s BOI has also offered tax incentives for EV/HEV projects.


Vietnam is also making inroads in its EV production with the launch of three locally produced smart battery-electric SUVs in January 2021, which are expected to debut in the US market in 2022.


Packaging demands for sustainability: a constant feature


A Transparency Market Research report on the ASEAN packaging industry noted a high demand in the flexible packaging market in Indonesia, particularly in the bags, pouches and films segments.


Meanwhile, the current increase in online shopping and home delivery activities has not only led to a demand for packaging but has also changed consumer preferences for packaging.


Participants learnt about the packaging solutions.

A Euromonitor report examined the impact of COVID-19 on the Malaysian packaging industries and concluded that revenues were hit by the decline in consumer spending. In Malaysia, containment measures limited economic activities leading to below-normal purchases of packaged retail goods.


In the Philippines, the packaging market is projected to grow 3.3% to 69 billion units annually by 2024, according to GlobalData. The growth is mainly driven by the rigid packaging segment, estimated to present a CAGR of 6.4% between 2019 and 2024. Boosting demand for rigid packaging is the popularity of packaged and processed foods and soft drinks portable containers.


The industry is seeking continued development of recyclable materials and sustainable technologies that can enable manufacturers to use fewer plastics without compromising the quality of the packaged product.


Scouting for new markets in post-pandemic era


The pandemic has been a crucial test of Southeast Asia's advantage as a sustainable market and regional supply chain. The ASEAN’s diverse markets and industry specialization offer growth opportunities for companies seeking to regain momentum in a disrupted global economy.


CHINAPLAS 2021 takes place from 13 to 16 April in Shenzhen.

With all its infrastructure advantages and lower cost structures, ASEAN is expected to emerge stronger post-pandemic, to become a more secure place for investment and manufacturing.


ASEAN visitors from manufacturing sectors prospecting new avenues for business growth and market expansion are invited to attend the upcoming CHINAPLAS 2021 which takes place from 13 to 16 April in Shenzhen to explore new materials and automated technology presented by 3,600+ exhibitors.


Participants can learn technological innovations on the fairground, and also go beyond a physical exhibition to the online world with “CHINAPLAS+” which does not limited to the 4-day show period, but throughout the year.



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