With China set to become the world's largest polyolefins market by this year's end, joint venture firm Borouge continues to expand its footprint in that country while ramping up capacity in the Middle East.
The polyolefins supplier, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, inaugurated its first manufacturing plant in China during the recent Chinaplas trade fair, held April 19-22 in Shanghai. The new compounding facility in Shanghai boasts annual capacity of 110 million pounds, focusing heavily on China's booming automotive and appliances markets. It has the potential to expand capacity to 176 million pounds.
The company said its ability to serve Chinese domestic automakers has been limited by capacity. As the Shanghai plant comes on stream, however, Borouge expects to extend its product applications to Chinese-branded vehicles in the second half of this year and early 2011, said Kevin Liu, vice president of Borouge's Mobility auto business unit.
Based on Borouge's projection, total polyolefin demand in China will eclipse Europe by the end of 2010, followed by North America, the Middle East, South America and India. China also is expected to increase its lead rapidly in the next decade.
To boost market share in China, Borough is continuing to make investments and grow its presence. When speaking at the Chinaplas show, Andy Liu, regional general manager for north Asia, revealed plans for 2010, including:
* Setting up an application research and development center in the Shanghai compounding facility.
* Starting to expand the Shanghai compounding plant.
* Boosting manpower by 50 percent from the 2009 level.
* Completing the study of a second compounding plant in southern China.
* Launching the study of a third compounding plant in northern China.
Andy Liu joined Borouge in January from Ciba Specialty Chemicals in Basel, Switzerland. He is based in Shanghai.
In addition to the Shanghai plant, Borough also operates large-scale logistics hubs in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Singapore. Its Asia operation includes a joint venture with Indian compounder Machino Poly- mers Ltd.
Company officials also presented new products at the show. Among them, the Borstar multimodal polypropylene technology offers high processability and performance for blown films. The new high-stress crack-resistant Borsafe polyethylene resin is designed to create long-term durable pipes, and has been used by Chinese pipe manufacturer Cangzhou Plastics Co. Ltd. for a water-supply project in Tianjin's Eco-City.
The 323 million-square-foot Eco-City is the world's largest eco-friendly public housing development by the Chinese and Singaporean governments.
Borouge also continues to support polymer education in China. The company announced a five-year scholarship program to sponsor 14 undergraduate students from Beijing University of Chemical Technology. In addition, an international scholarship offers opportunities for Chinese college graduates to pursue master's or doctoral studies in polymer science and engineering abroad.
Borouge is a joint venture between Borealis AG of Vienna and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. It employs more than 1,400 worldwide and registers about $1.4 billion in annual sales.
The company is starting up its Borouge 2 project in mid 2010, to boost polyolefins capacity to 4.4 billion pounds a year.
Preparation has begun for Borouge 3, to increase capacity further, to 10 billion pounds by the end of 2013.
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