BOSTON, MA – China’s architectural coatings market nearly doubled to 4.64 million tons between 2008 and 2013 and will sustain its growth as the rising Asian giant maintains its rapid pace of urbanization. However, the fastest growth and the highest profits are found in the functional coatings segment, which accounts for about 8% of the architectural coatings market, according to a report by Lux Research.

Three major types of architectural functional coatings – insulating, solar reflective and photocatalytic coatings – form the most lucrative segments due to their wide feasibility in all building types and early commercialization status.

“More important, these three types of architectural functional coatings have high growth potential because their adoption is aligned with the policies of the Chinese government to improve building sustainability and efficiency,” said Jerrold Wang, Lux Research Associate and the lead author of the report.

“Insulating coatings present a better opportunity in regions with harsh winters such as Heilongjiang, while solar reflective coatings should target regions with high cooling energy demand, such as Guangdong. Photocatalytic coatings should focus on regions with serious air pollution and high air-quality improvement targets,” he added.

Lux Research analysts evaluated China’s architectural coating market, identifying overall growth drivers and specific opportunities in high-growth provinces. Their findings indicate that patents provide high growth for functional coatings. Patent activity in all these three types of architectural functional coatings has risen since 2010, and 472 patents have been awarded in the four years up to January 2014. The vast majority have been secured by commercial enterprises, indicating market-readiness as well as responsiveness to government policy.

The study also found that of the 18 companies and research institutes evaluated on the Lux Innovation Grid, Zhishengweihua and Haitai emerged as the top candidates for partnerships. Both have technical advantages – low thermal conductivity of Zhishengweihua’s insulation coating and the fine particle size of Haitai’s photocatalytic coating powder.

Insulating coatings are highly valued in China’s Northern region because of its harsh winters and high electricity tariffs. Similarly, solar reflective coatings have a ready market in the Pearl River Delta and the middle and lower branches of the Yangtze River because of high cooling demand.

The report, titled Exploring Chinese Architectural Functional Coating Market: Identifying High-Growth Provinces, is part of the Lux Research China Innovation Intelligence service. For additional information, visit