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Tuesday, July 4, 2023
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UAE-based Borouge sees upside in Chinese market
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    China Daily
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    Borouge's booth is seen during an expo in Shanghai in April. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    The Chinese economy, despite domestic and international pressures and challenges, has commenced the year on a strong note, which bodes well for the country's pursuit of its annual GDP growth target and will likely ignite substantial demand for many businesses across sectors, the top executive of a multinational corporation said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

    "Early this year, a series of key economy indicators have demonstrated that the Chinese economy has amassed several positive elements in the first quarter, marking a strong start to the year," said Rainer Hoefling, CEO of Borouge Pte, a petrochemical company based in the United Arab Emirates.

    Borouge makes polyolefins that are used in many fields like infrastructure, energy, automotive, packaging and healthcare.

    China's Government Work Report released in early March mapped out an annual growth target of "around 5 percent" for 2024.

    As China continues to grow and develop, there will be increasing demand for products and services across many sectors. This will present numerous opportunities for companies in various industries, said Hoefling.

    China's economic landscape is dynamic and resilient, underpinned by ongoing reforms, technological advancements and a strong commitment to sustainable development, Hoefling said, stressing that in the years ahead, China will continue to be a key contributor to global economic growth.

    "In particular, we are seeing positive signs in the infrastructure segment as a result of government support. At the same time, trends such as urbanization and green energy will also boost infrastructure projects," Hoefling said.

    Noting that global polyolefin consumption is about 200 million metric tons with China accounting for as much as 40 percent of it, Hoefling said Borouge will expand its pipe, wire and cable businesses to further support the country's infrastructure building and green energy transition through collaborations with local companies.

    Borouge's financial results showed a net profit of $1 billion last year. Notably, the company has focused on producing specialized products tailored for the Chinese market, which generated the highest returns.

    As Asia, with China at its forefront, emerges as the epicenter of consumption and production, Borouge announced last November that it will relocate its Asia North headquarters to Hongkou district, Shanghai.

    Borouge has also been increasing its investments in areas that pursue innovation and sustainability in China, supporting growing demand for products that encourage reduction of carbon footprint, like new energy vehicles, Hoefling said.

    China's NEV production and sales reached 9.587 million units and 9.495 million units, respectively, in 2023, solidifying the country's position as the world's leading market for NEVs for the ninth consecutive year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

    "At our Application Centre in Shanghai, we have started to employ technologies that leverage digitalization and artificial intelligence in our research and development to facilitate the launch of new products specifically designed for auto sectors in the future," Hoefling said.

    Meanwhile, Borouge will continue to work closely with various Chinese companies, keeping the focus on the circular economy, as it has done in recent years.

    The State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline in February to accelerate the construction of a waste-recycling system, following the circular economy concept featuring the 3Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle.

    Borouge launched a yearlong joint study with two companies in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, focusing on collected and processed plastic waste feedstock, to develop a local waste-to-recycling and closed-loop ecosystem, Hoefling said.

    "Borouge is committed to driving circularity so that plastic waste can be recycled and channeled back into the system for a zero-waste environment," he said.

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