The world's second largest economy reported its 2014 gross domestic product growth at 7.4 percent, the lowest since 1990. The plastics industry exhibits similar trends, referred to by many as the "new normal."
China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released 2014 annual data on Jan 20. The numbers show that the rubber and plastic products sector expanded its "added value" by 8.6 percent for the full year (8 percent for the month of December.)
The number is slightly higher than the overall industrial sector, whose "added value" increased 8.3 percent.
The NBS numbers do not include companies with annual sales of less than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million). Since the plastics industry consists of a sizable base of small- and micro-sized companies, the NBS numbers don't necessarily reflect the entire picture.
The NBS numbers also include both rubber and plastics products.
For plastics-specific data, Beijing-based China Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA) shared these latest numbers with Plastics News China:
During the first 11 months of 2014, China made 66.7 million tons of processed plastic products, up 7.45 percent year-on-year. Main business revenue grew 9.6 percent to 1.8 trillion yuan ($296.2 billion). Profit rose 8.4 percent to 100.9 billion yuan ($16.2 billion). Export of processed plastic products climbed 6.5 percent to $54.7 billion.
The CPPIA numbers also only cover companies with annual sales equal to or above 20 million yuan ($3.2 million).
In an Associated Press story, a plastic packaging company in Tianjin was quoted saying it foresees more difficult times. The company, employing 700 people, reported a 5 percent decline in 2014 sales. That's after winning an important new client.
Chinese leaders and state-run media have frequently used the phrase "new normal," urging business to adapt to the slower but more sustainable growth model.
CPPIA Vice President Cao Jian said the plastics industry enters a "new normal" stage and will focus on quality and efficiency, instead of scale.