Development Status of China's Plastics Industry
Mr. Liao Zheng Pin
President of China Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA)
Chairman of National Technical Committee on Plastic Products of Standardization Administration of China (SAC)
Director of CPPIA Expert Committee
"Mr. Liao Zhengpin, the Han Nationality, was born in December 1940. He is the incumbent president of China Plastic Processing Industrial Association with an administrative level of director of department and bureau and a professor-level senior engineer. Since 1965, he has been engaged in plastic processing, technical management and other related work in plastic specialized area of technology. He is one of the leaders in the development of plastic industry in China. His main concurrent jobs include: Chairman of National Technical Committee (TC) of Standardization for Plastic Products; Vice Chairman of Board of Directors of China Association for Plastic Technological Application in Agriculture; Member of Coordinating Group for Chemical Building Materials in China; Member of Expert Advisors Group of 8th Brain-Trust of Beijing Municipality; Expert of Textile and Light Industry in Industry Development Department of State Development Planning Commission; Honorary Professor of North China Institute of Technology and Longyan University of Fujian; Judge of National Science and technology Reward Work Office, etc.
I. Development status of China's plastics industry from January to April this year, 2009
From January to April 2009, based on NBSC (National Bureau of Statistics of China) statistics, China's plastics industry maintained steady growth in output and output value but witnessed some decline in exports. Buoyed by dramatic domestic demand for plastic packaging, plastic construction materials, daily chemical and engineering plastics as well as for plastics with environment-friendly and energy-saving features, and extensive application of plastic products, China's plastics industry is expected to show signs of a noticeable pickup to steadily step out of the current economic trough.
1. Steady growth for output and output value
From January to April 2009, based on NBSC statistics, 18,808 above-scale plastics enterprises in China accomplished 12,500KT in total output of plastic products, up 8.02% on a YOY basis. Specifically, the growth rate for agricultural film, pipes/fittings and plastic silk & filament and woven products hit 15.55%, 19.82% and 21.54% respectively.
The total output value achieved RMB 290.08 billion, up 7.0% on a YOY basis; including RMB 12.99 billion in new products output, down 6.9% on a YOY basis; RMB 282.07 billion in industrial sales value, up 6.26% on a YOY basis; 97.27% in sales/output 97.27%; RMB 49.34 billion in export delivery value, down 12.19% on a YOY basis.
Though the above data is not completely comparable, it can be seen that the decline in plastic products output is insignificant while that of value output is significant; the industry as a whole is maintaining a steady operation and domestic demand is undergoing steady growth.
Table 1:Total plastics output in the country from January to April 2009
Accomplished output YOY growth (%)
Current month Total Current month Total
3,592,615 12,500,102 9.79 8.02
Including: Plastic film
560,945 2,042,778 9.71 6.14
Among which Agricultural film
94,185 392,950 8.21 15.55
Plastic boards and sheets
277,259 910,098 8.95 8.81
Plastic pipes and fittings
456,531 1,453,967 24.88 19.82
Plastic strips, rods and profiles
134,101 440,105 11.57 5.96
Plastic silk & filaments and woven plastics
412,363 1,442,039 18.01 21.54
158,377 522,100 1.94 -5.28
Plastic artificial leather and synthetic leather
133,193 471,392 -6.56 -2.32
Plastic packing containers/boxes
220,163 816,944 12.70 15.00
General plastic products
424,960 1,465,078 11.12 8.07
Other plastic products
814,723 2,935,600 0.00 0.00
2. Fast growth for plastic production in the central and western regions, marking a gradual acceleration in industrial relocation
In terms of regional development, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong witnessed a substantial decline in plastics production, -26.6%, -12.22% and -7.85% respectively. On the other hand, some other regions witnessed substantial growth, including Inner Mongolia and Hunan (87%), Jiangxi (53.25%), Guizhou (45.40%), Sichuan (43.07%), Ningxia (38.09%), Hubei (37.77%), Guangxi (31.99%), and Gansu (29.28%). As traditional players in plastics production, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong witnessed a 9.64%, 2.92% and 16.21% growth rate respectively.
In recent years, as is evident, China's plastics processing industry has witnessed a gradual industrial relocation from the advanced coastal regions to the undeveloped central, western and northeastern regions, creating some opportunities for export-oriented enterprises. Plastic woven products are a typical example. Zhejiang, the No.1 production province in past years, has now been taken over by Shandong followed by Liaoning. Inner Mongolia and Fujian have also witnessed fast growth.
3. Continuous decline of plastic products exports in Q1 2009, exhibiting a continuous annual declining trend in annual exports
From January to April 2009, the export value for plastic products was USD 9.74 billion, -5.33% on a YOY basis. Exports continued to decline beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008. The export tax refund was adjusted to either 11% or 13% for some products, while for some other products it is as low as 5% or 9%. In April, 2009, plastic products exports hit USD 1.21 billion, down 5.7% on a YOY basis, but up 11.9% over the previous month.
Table 2: Customs statistics of plastic products exports from January to April 2009
Export volume (T)
Export value (USD 0,000)
1- volume of
YOY growth (%)
1- value of
YOY growth (%)
1. Plastic monofilaments, bars, rods, sections and profiles
2. Plastic pipes and fittings
3. Plastic boards, sheets, film, foils, tapes and strips
4. Plastic artificial leather and synthetic leather
5. Plastic packing containers, boxes, and accessories
6. Plastic components
7. Construction plastics
(1) Plastic walling products and flooring products
(2) Plastic door/window panels (curtain) and similar products
(3) Other construction plastics
8. Daily plastic products
(1) Plastic dishware and kitchenware
(2) Plastic sanitary toilet ware, articles and components
(3) Plastic office and school articles
(4) Plastic shoes, soles and heels
(5) Other daily plastic products
9.Other plastic products
Note: Source: General Administration of Customs
In the first quarter of 2009, based on customs statistics, China's total export of plastic products reached 1,407KT which worth USD 3.03 billion, down 16.5% and 7.2% on a YOY basis, respectively. In March, plastics exports reached 516KT with a drop of 8.8%, valued at USD 1.13 billion, down 0.9%. Key features for exports are shown below:
(1) Continuous decline in monthly exports for 12 months
Beginning from April 2008, China's monthly exports of plastic products witnessed a YOY decline for 12 successive months and February witnessed the lowest dropping rate, reaching 28.1% negative growth. This March, the decline rate slowed down to 8.8% and exports increased 65.4% compare with the previous month.
(2) Greater decline for processing trade exports than general trade
From January to March 2009, China's export of plastic products in the form of processing trade exports fell to 678KT, dropping 21%, 4.4% greater than the decline rate of general trade exports during the same period, and accounting for 48.2% in total exports of plastic products during this period. General trade exports hit 603KT, down 16.6%, accounting for 42.9% during the same period.
(3) USA, EU and Japan, the top three export destinations for China
In the first quarter of this year, China's exports of plastic products to the USA, the EU and Japan dropped to 425KT, 268KT and 140KT, down 18.5%, 17.3% and 7.7% respectively. Exports to Hong Kong and ASEAN hit 107KT and 90KT, down 23% and up 12.6% respectively.
(4) Foreign-invested enterprises sharing 40% in total exports
In the first quarter of 2009, exports from foreign-invested enterprises hit 608KT, dropping 21.5% and accounting for 43.2% in China's total exports of plastic products in the same period. Exports from private enterprises fell to 562KT, dropping 3.7% and accounting for 39.9% in China's total exports; exports from state-owned enterprises hit 165KT, dropping 26.8% and accounting for 11.7% of China's total exports.
(5) Guangdong shares half of China's total exports and Zhejiang grows in exports
In the first quarter of this year, Guangdong plastics exports hit 675KT, declining by 19.3% but accounting for 48% of China's total exports of the same period. Zhejiang exports reached 163KT, up 5.3%; and Jiangsu exports hit 147KT, down 13.1%.
Over 60% of China's plastic products are exported to developed countries, mainly including plastic packing bags, small sculptures, dishware, kitchenware and toilet ware, as well as industrial used packaging and car-bodies, trimming, bumpers and plastic parts for car engines. However, affected by the global financial crisis, consumer spending in developed countries is shrinking and automobile corporations in the EU and the USA are facing unprecedented challenges. This severely inhibits the export of plastic products from China. In addition, key developed countries are paying increasing attention to environmental safety with the result that plastic products are becoming key chemical products subject to strict regulation. Therefore, these countries are implementing higher safety standards and entry thresholds, which are expected to aggravate the current gloomy situation regarding the export of plastic products from China.
To propel the development of the plastics industry, the Chinese government has recently promulgated a series of policies and control measures. Beginning in November 2008, for example, China increased the export tax refund rate from 5% to 9% on some plastic products. In April this year, China further increased the refund rate to between 11 and 13% on some plastic products. In February this year, China excluded some plastic materials and products from the “Processing Trade Exports Restriction Directory”. In addition, the “Plan to Restructure and Promote Light Industry” adopted in February this year also aims to speed up the development of the plastics industry. Implementation of these supporting policies is expected to help plastics production and export enterprises in this country to step out of their current dilemma.