Although China's first modern manufacturing base, the Pearl River Delta, faces labor shortages, rising wages and other issues, the southern province of Guangdong continues to lead the way in plastics manufacturing.
The latest statistics show Guangdong produced a quarter of China's total output of plastic goods in 2006, while its share of the country's gross domestic product represents one-eighth of the national total.
``Guangdong is doing especially well with plastic pipes, containers and consumer products,'' said Fu An, president of the Guangdong Plastics Industry Association, in a May 20 speech at the China-India Plastics Industry Summit 2007 in Guangzhou.
Guangdong houses one of China's largest processors, Foshan Plastics Group, as well as China's largest compounder, Guangzhou Kingfa Sci & Tech Co. Ltd., and Asia's largest plastic beverage bottle producer, Zhuhai Zhongfu Group.
Fu estimated Guangdong produced 1.4 billion pounds of polyethylene, 1.4 billion pounds of polypropylene and 1 billion pounds of polyester in 2006.
``In the years to come, Guangdong plans to complete 13 key petrochemical projects with 358 billion yuan [$47 billion] in total investment,'' Fu said. That includes 248 billion yuan [$33 billion] during the period from 2006-10. Fu said the additions will increase resin production capacity substantially and influence plastics processing.
Meantime, resin trading markets are emerging and forming ``a unique plastic material logistics circle'' around Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, according to Fu. ``Seven large-scale resin markets have been finished or are under construction.'' Those combined markets host more than 3,000 resin distributors and transact 18 billion to 22 billion pounds annually.
In a May 20 interview, Fu said the growth rate of plastic production may slow down due to rising labor costs, limited land resources and increasing attention to environmental protection.
``But we need to look at the quality of growth, not just the volume,'' Fu said.
He said the industry aims to emphasize more research and development, innovation and branding. ``We also need to improve [intellectual property] protection and attract higher-end investment,'' he said.