GE Plastics and PetroChina Co. Ltd. announced plans to build a polycarbonate plant in China to serve growing local demand. PetroChina's Chairman Chen Geng said his firm is "committed to continuing expanding its scope of foreign cooperation and collaboration."
Also in China, GE is stepping up the expansion of its Nansha PC compounding facility, in part to produce film for the liquid-crystal-display television market. The company also plans to expand its Shanghai technology center.
For the PC resin plant, Beijing-based PetroChina will supply feedstocks and the joint venture partners will collaborate on a phosgene-free, melt technology-based PC plant, according to a GE Plastics news release.
Quoting unidentified PetroChina sources, Dow Jones Newswires earlier reported that the two companies will build the plant in northern China, where PetroChina has a strong presence and could supply raw materials. China's polycarbonate market is growing about 10 percent a year.
GE also said it will expand film capacity in Nansha both this year and in 2007, but a spokeswoman declined to provide more details.
The company said demand is growing for its Illuminex films for the LCD market. It said Illuminex can make screens brighter while minimizing shimmering, without having to rotate the film, as traditional LCD screen films require.
GE applies coatings to its PC films, while some competitors use PET films for LCD screen applications. GE's move is seen as a challenge to 3M Co., which has a large presence in the display technology market.
Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE said it also will expand its technology center in Shanghai to improve films used in monitors, TVs and global positioning systems in cars.
GE currently has two compounding operations in China, and company officials have said they are looking at building another compounding plant in the country, possibly in Nantong, by 2008.