BEIJING – GCiS China Strategic Research estimates that the domestic market of surfactants in China was valued at over $6.1 billion (RMB 38.2 billion) at the end 2014 and $6.4 billion (RMB 40.2 billion) in 2015. The study finds that the overall surfactants market will continue to grow with a five-year CAGR of 5.3 percent over the next few years, although below estimated GDP growth rates. Segmented markets such as anionic and non-ionic surfactants will enjoy a slightly higher CAGR of 5.4 percent, while cationic surfactants will have the lowest CAGR of 4.1 percent over the next five years.
The 500 domestic suppliers in the surfactants market in China hold a slightly greater share than the 30 foreign competitors. This indicates the differences in pricing and product quality between foreign and domestic suppliers. For example, in the cationic segment, the average price from foreign suppliers is 1.7 times the average price from domestic suppliers, which is the largest price difference among all segments. This has been achieved through capacity expansions by domestic suppliers that have mainly taken place in 2014 and 2015. In 2014 and 2015, nine domestic suppliers started operations of newly built ethoxylation plants for production of surfactants, with added capacity of 730,000 tons collectively. Additionally, eight suppliers started or completed construction of sulfonation plants, with total added capacity of over 550,000 tons. Several additional capacity expansions are planned in the near future.
The research finds that the demand is gradually shifting towards greener products among anionic and non-ionic surfactants. The change is mostly due to customers’ increasing awareness of environmental and health concerns. Green surfactants are enlarging their market revenue since they are widely used among all end-user industries. With the exception of cationic, which are mainly used in the textile industry, the main end-user industries for all products are detergent and personal care and cosmetics, which have the highest growth rates in recent years. The rapidly growing downstream industries, in turn, have triggered relatively high growth rates in anionic, non-ionic and amphoteric surfactants.
The GCiS market study draws on a three-month in-depth survey of 74 of the market’s suppliers, channel players and experts. Each product segment includes market size and shares, five-year projections, market structure, pricing trends, distribution, an assessment of key suppliers, and more. Recent developments in product technology, end-user demand dynamics, and application trends are all examined.
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