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Great potential for ASEAN nonwovens market

Source:Ringier Nonwovens     Date:2014-10-06
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By GUO YONGDE, Xinlong Nonwovens Co., Ltd.

IN THE LAST decade, Southeast Asia has become a major focus of the world economy, with more and more multinational companies from various industries around the world establishing a presence here. The huge and low-cost labor pool along with the vast consumer market have attracted foreign investment. Meanwhile, these key elements in turn are helping to drive the industrial advancement of the region.

growing Asian diaper market

A growing disposable diaper market in Southeast Asia is spurring investments in the region’s nonwovens industry (Photo © Otnaydur | Dreamstime.com - All About Love)

The same also goes for the nonwovens industry. The nonwovens industry in ASEAN has grown rapidly due to it reliance on the importation of nonwoven products from other markets outside the region. Today, leading global nonwovens manufacturers continue to build plants  in the region in the hope of generating high profits with lower labor cost competitiveness. These investments have also boosted  the region’s nonwovens industry development, with Thailand and Indonesia leading the way as promising growth markets.

Some Japanese nonwovens manufacturers have already built facilities in Thailand due to the positive outlook. For example, in September 2011, Asahi Kasei installed a spunbond nonwovens production line in Thailand with annual capacity of 20,000 tons per year. By the end of 2012, Toray Japan expanded its spunbond nonwovens capacity from 30,000 tons per year to 50,000 tons per year in Thailand.

JNC also formed a company that sells and manufactures spunbond nonwovens in Thailand through its subsidiary JNC Fibers. The new location is helpful in meeting end users’ growing demand for hygiene products in ASEAN, and the new company will also serve other emerging markets in India and the Middle East.

In September 2011, Toray established P.T. Toray Polytech Jakarta (TP) in Jakarta, Indonesia, with a polypropylene filament-based spunbond production line that yields 20,000 tons per year of nonwovens. In April 2012,  the production line started operations two months ahead of schedule. The PP spunbond nonwovens fabrics can be used as top layer for baby diapers.

Market potential and advantages

The large population of ASEAN provides abundant labor resources and competitive labor costs for investment in the region. Due to changes in consumption practices, along with population growth, the major nonwovens application of disposable consumer goods, such as baby diapers and sanitary napkins will be expanded further in the future.

According to Toray, due to the rapid economic development of ASEAN, and the changes in life style stimulated by increasing earnings, the disposable diaper market in Indonesia is expected to grow 14% a year on average. The demand will increase from 1.9 billion pieces in 2010 to about 3.7 billion in 2015. As disposable hygiene manufacturers are trying to source raw materials from the local market, PP spunbond fabrics demand is expected to reach 84,000 tons in 2015 in ASEAN.

Moreover, as governments across the region strengthen investments in infrastructure development, the use of nonwovens and industrial fibers for civil engineering will also increase significantly. All these factors prove that there is great market potential and advantages for the nonwovens industry in ASEAN. (Edited and condensed from “Progress & Prospects” from Nonwovens Industry Magazine)
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