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Where is the largest consumer market for polyolefins in China?

With the rapid development of China’s polyolefin industry, there is a high probability that there is a surplus in the market, especially in the polypropylene market.

Under such a background, how to locate the key consumption market, how to take the lead in achieving the targeted and fixed supply of important product enterprises, and how to form long-term and stable cooperative relationship with important product enterprises have become important sales consideration points for polyolefin producers at present. It becomes more important to find the largest polyolefin consumption market in the future, make sales layout in the largest consumption market in advance, and seize the market opportunity under the great contradiction of oversupply and demand.

From the current perspective, the two largest consumer markets in China’s polypropylene and polyethylene industries are undoubtedly East China and South China. Although there are polyolefin production layouts in other regions, there is a serious outflow of resources. Only East China and South China are the two regions with the largest net inflow of polyolefins in China.In 2021, the consumption scale of polypropylene in East China exceeds 11 million tons and polyethylene exceeds 17 million tons, accounting for about 35% of China’s total polyolefin consumption; the consumption scale of polypropylene in South China exceeds 7 million tons and polyethylene exceeds 5.3 million tons, accounting for 22% of China’s total polypropylene consumption.

East China and South China are the largest consumption regions in China’s polyolefin industry; and from the perspective of regional consumption growth rate in the past 6 years, Northwest China has the fastest growth rate of polyolefin consumption in China, with an average annual compound growth rate of 7.06% in the past few years. However, the consumption in Northwest China is relatively small, with less than 1 million tons in 2021, accounting for only 2% of the total consumption volume in China.

From the perspective of economic activity, East and South China still have high development potential. For the future strategic positioning of polyolefin consumption in China, the northwest market can only be used as a high-speed new market, and the largest consumption market, in the future, will remain in east and south China.

East China is not only the largest consumer market for polyolefins in China, but also a large supply market. 2021 China’s East China polypropylene country production exceeds 5.5 million tons, and polyethylene country production exceeds 4.2 million tons, of which ZPMC and Zhongan United and other enterprises are put into operation, increasing the supply in East China, and also intensifying the competitive atmosphere in the regional market. In the future, the second phase of ZPMC, the second phase of Zhangjiagang of Donghua Energy and the second phase of Zhenhai Refinery are expected to be put into production, and the competition within the polyolefin market in East China will continue to intensify. Under such a general trend, the export or outflow of polyolefin from East China to outside the region will increase, and polyolefin enterprises in East China will actively look for consumption markets outside the region.

South China produced more than 5 million tons of polypropylene resources in 2021, producing more than 2.4 million tons of polyethylene, and production within South China has grown at a high rate in the past five years, with the fastest growth rate in the country.

South China has superior location advantage, Guangdong is the largest polyolefin consuming province in China, in addition to the growth of Guangxi market, which has become a new driving force for the growth of polyolefin consumption in South China. The geographical location of South China also contributes to the export of many polyolefin resources to Southeast China, among which the Chinese-made polyolefin resources from Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore are basically exported through the South China market.

In addition, the structural difference between domestic and imported polyolefins in South China is very obvious. Although South China is actively expanding new grades of polyolefins, the largest share is still homogeneous grades, and most of the imported grades are high-end grades.
The polyolefin downstream consumer market in South China is one of the most astute groups in the field. The downstream plastic product factories in South China, with the strongest aggressive expansion mentality and drive to seek new product iterations, have become the driving force behind the import of high-end polyolefin grades in South China.

In the future, the largest consumption market of China’s polyolefin industry will still be concentrated in East China and South China, while East China is the region with the largest consumption of homogeneous grades and South China is the region with the most obvious differentiation of consuming polyolefin grades. In addition, Northwest China has a low consumption base and the fastest growth rate, but it needs to be driven by the economic development of a large region in order to achieve the leap in consumption level.

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