Demand for Flat Glass in China on the Rise
Demand for flat glass in China is projected to increase 8.2% per year through 2016 to 3.4 billion square meters, according to “Flat Glass in China,” a new market research study from the Beijing office of The Freedonia Group Inc. Sales of flat glass will reportedly be driven by growth in building construction expenditures and advances in motor vehicle and solar panel production. In value terms, flat glass demand is forecast to rise 13.9% per year to 250 billion yuan (~ $39 million) in 2016. Ongoing industrialization, rising income levels, and further population and household growth will benefit flat glass sales.
Two major trends are expected to affect the flat glass industry over the next 10 years. First, demand for float glass is forecast to grow at the expense of demand for lower quality sheet glass. Second, demand for fabricated flat glass products is forecast to continue to rise as they are increasingly favored over unfabricated products in building applications and as rapid growth is expected in fabricated glass markets such as solar energy and electronic displays. By 2021, fabricated flat glass will account for nearly half of total flat glass demand in China.
Unfabricated float glass is expected to remain the largest product category through 2016, with demand growing 6.6% annually to 1.5 billion sq m. Advances will be spurred by healthy growth in building construction activity, especially in rural areas, and relatively low product prices.
Safety glass is the largest category of fabricated glass products. Demand for safety glass will advance nearly 15% annually through 2016, reaching nearly 700 million sq m. Demand will benefit from rising income levels and growth in new construction, as well as from increasing output of motor vehicles, solar panels, and furniture. Demand for insulating glass is forecast to grow 15.5% annually through 2016, boosted by growth in construction of residential and commercial buildings, schools, and hospitals, which use significant amounts of flat glass in their designs.
Demand for other fabricated flat glass products is also expected to expand rapidly. Product gains will be driven by demand for low-iron ultra-clear glass in solar panels, the rising use of low-emissivity (low-E) and solar controlled glass in new nonresidential buildings, and fast growth in the production of large LCD televisions and other electronic displays.
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