If the past year taught us anything, it’s that the world is becoming an unpredictable place where change is the only constant. In Asia-Pacific, the convergence of economic, technological, customer and regulatory forces are remaking the market into a more dynamic, inclusive playing field.
With this transition, we expect to see consistent demand for reliable products, breakthrough technology and innovative, high-impact solutions.
Productivity Enhancement Solutions Widely Spread Across Industries
As our customers work to enhance operational productivity, we are confident that demand for adhesive technologies will surge across multiple industries, including automotive, flexible packaging, goods assembling and general manufacturing.
A sluggish world economy, together with rising labor costs and slowing worker productivity gains, are challenging every global company doing business in Asia-Pacific. The need for cost-effective and productivity-enhancing solutions is unprecedented. Serving as key activators in multiple industries to expedite automation and modernization, adhesive technologies are set to benefit.
In the automotive industry, for example, adhesives and sealants help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) bond different substrates of metal, eliminating the need for welding and mechanical rivets. These adhesive products are making strong inroads in the industry, as car makers and OEMs see the clear benefits of new materials, a simplified manufacturing process and related cost savings. A recent market report estimates that the automotive adhesives market will grow from US$4.03 billion in 2016 to US$6.05 billion by 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5%.1
Across the region, Henkel solutions – including our adhesive and sealant offerings for automotive components as well as our thermal solutions for electronics – are widely applied in top-selling premium automobiles and cutting-edge new energy vehicles. The Henkel-owned two-step surface treatment method enables pretreatment of body shells with an aluminum content of up to 100% while reducing waste and the use of energy and chemicals. This process allows the region’s top vehicle manufacturers to reduce costs and enhance productivity. Henkel is also playing a game-changing role in providing sound-deadening solutions to car manufacturers by replacing bitumen mats with a new generation water-based material, which can be sprayed onto car bodies with robots to increase production efficiency significantly.
Consumers Demanding High-Quality, Safe Products
Also set to surge is the use of adhesive technologies in a vast array of consumer goods – everything from daily care products to medical devices.
As incomes rise in Asia, the region’s rising middle class is more optimistic than it is in the most mature markets. Some 73% of respondents from Southeast Asia believe that they’ll fulfill their biggest dream in their lifetimes, according to a recent AIA Group survey, which will lead to higher consumer spending. In addition, consumers are becoming more sophisticated, particularly those from the upper middle class and those 35 years old and younger. In China, 81% of consumption growth from now to 2020 will come from those with annual household income over US$24,000. Chinese consumers 35 or younger will drive 65% of that growth.2
An important component of growing consumer sophistication is the demand for high-quality and safe products.
In the healthcare industry, the growing importance of adhesive dentistry contributes to the global medical adhesives market growth, projected to reach approximately US$10 billion by 2019.3 Growth in this segment in Asia-Pacific is expected to outpace that of both the United States and Europe as more manufacturing shifts to the region.
Adhesive technologies are also enabling a host of innovative features and improvements in such medical care products as syringes, ducts and surgical masks. Bio-sensitive conductive ink and thermal management materials are also meeting increasing demand in products such as blood glucose monitor testing paper. Other healthcare applications made better by adhesive technologies are drug delivery systems, catheters, implants and therapeutic devices.
Entrepreneurs Demand High-Impact Solutions
Entrepreneurs in Asia are leading global development in drones. And China is leading its global rise, with five out of the world’s top 11 venture capital-funded drone companies from the country. This industry uses adhesive technologies to improve efficiency and safety across joints in the latest- to next-generation commercial drones.
Throughout a company-owned scouting to commercialization process, Henkel Adhesive Technologies is also partnering with start-up companies with technical solutions ranging from next-generation flexible displays to game-changing surface treatment technologies. Innovation at an early design stage and high-impact solutions are a winning combination of best-in-class service and unique solutions.
Thriving in Volatile Markets with Increasing Agility from Within
Productivity enhancement, evolving consumer demand and new technologies exploitation are constantly driving adhesives demand. And in a turbulent business environment, every company must increase agility to rapidly adapt and steer itself to spot and exploit these growth opportunities.
We continue to transform the way we do business, in line with the Henkel 2020+ vision-setting goals for 2020 and beyond across Asia Pacific. We aim to digitize our interaction with customers, consumers, business partners and suppliers along the entire value chain. We will march deeper into the e-commerce market by establishing a strategic partnership with 1688, the B2B e-commerce platform from the Alibaba Group, which promises to double “digitally driven” sales to more than 4 billion euros by 2020.
In response to an innovation and disruption cycle shorter than ever before, we will leverage the Henkel Adhesives Innovation Center (HAIC), located at the company’s regional hub in Shanghai, to take advantage of close proximity to local customers. By fostering a stronger entrepreneurial spirit in our teams, we aim to drastically reduce our innovation development and response time to address the Asia-Pacific’s unmet market needs.
1 Markets & Markets: Automotive Adhesives Market by Resin Type, Application, Vehicle Type, and Region- Global Forecast to 2021.
2 BCG: The New China Playbook report, Dec. 2015.
3 Markets & Markets: Medical Adhesive Market - Global Forecast to 2019.