Germany's Wacker plans US$24m expansion in China

The company sees great potential in high-end chemicals as China's economy grows and demand for quality increases.
Germany's Wacker plans US$24m expansion in China

Wacker's plant in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. The plant will increase capacity by up to 30,000 tons by the second half of 2018.

German chemicals producer Wacker will invest 20 million euros (US$24 million) in China to expand production and step up research to tap growing demand for high-value chemicals.

By the second half of 2018, Wacker aims to increase the silicon rubber capacity of its plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province by several thousand tons.

And its Nanjing plant will increase production capacity of acetate-ethylene — a chemical additive used in construction — by 30,000 tons.

The company will also expand its research center in Shanghai by the end of 2018, adding labs working on coatings, construction, food and healthcare products.

The investment will be spent over two years and the company hopes to attract talent and upgrade technology to improve efficiency, president Rudolf Staudigl told Shanghai Daily.

China contributes around 1 billion euros to Wacker’s sales, a quarter of the total, “and it is still the fastest growing market this year,” Staudigl said.

China’s specialty chemicals market has hit US$124 billion, and will grow 7 percent annually in the next five years, faster than the global pace of around 5.4 percent, said IHS Markit, a London-based industrial consultancy.

Although foreign companies are retreating from the chemical commodities business in China in line with the rise of domestic producers, substantial opportunities remain in high-value and specialty chemicals, said Paul Pang, vice president and Shanghai regional head at IHS Markit.

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