China is one of the main growth markets for Tier One players globally, with no individual company commanding a dominant market share in 2016. In recent weeks, a number of companies have been expanding their capacities in the country.
In 2016, the Chinese industrial gas market was the second largest global market after the US. The market was dominated by several independent producers and distributors, with these companies accounting for just under half of all commercial revenues. In terms of Tier One companies, Linde and Air Liquide were the largest players in China, with revenues of approximately $1.4bn and $1.3bn, respectively.
Air Liquide has been especially active in signing new contracts in China. For example, the company recently signed new supply contracts with three major Chinese fibre optics manufacturers that will span a period of 10-15 years.
Under the terms of these new contracts with Futong Group Communication Technology, Yangtze Optical Fibre, and Zhongtian Technology Fine materials, Air Liquide will supply a total of more than 6,000Nm3 per hour of hydrogen (H2) and 4,000Nm3 per hour of nitrogen (N2), together with bulk oxygen (O2), helium (He), argon (Ar) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Alongside these contracts with fibre optics manufacturers, Air Liquide Engineering & Construction (Air Liquide E&C) has signed a new contract to supply an air separation unit (ASU) to Shandong Lianmeng Chemical, a large chemical company in Weifang, China. The proposed ASU, designed and built by Air Liquide, will have a production capacity of 2300 tonnes of O2 per day which will be supplied, along with N2, to the chemical plant.
Air Products has clinched a contract to build a N2 plant for the Tianjin facility of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).
Air Products will build a new fab as part of the expansion project to become the world’s largest integrated 8-inch integrated circuit (IC) production line with capacity of 150,000 wafers per month. The company will also be leveraging SMIC’s existing ASU and liquid gases capacity to supply a broad range of high-purity bulk gases, including N2, O2, Ar, CO2, H2 and He, as well as compressed dry air.
The company has been investing heavily in the country’s market over the past 12 months, announcing multiple new plant additions that will primarily serve China’s booming electronics industry.
TNSC has expanded its electronics gas manufacturing capacity in Asia after breaking ground on a new plant in Yangzhou, China.
The new electronic gas plant is being built at the Yangzhou Chemical Industry Park (YCIP) in Jiangsu province, China, to support increasing demand of electronics gases in Asia. The 28,000m2 area will house a manufacturing plant, warehouse, cylinder treatment facility and offices.
The new investment makes China the fourth country where the Tier One player has such capacities. It also operates electronic gas plants in Japan, the US and Korea.
Hangzhou Hangyang has recently announced an order for a 72,000 Nm3/h ASU for Jiangsu Haili Chemicals Co. Ltd., a further sign of a trend for large-scale ASUs in tandem with the country’s chemical, coal and refining industries.
Under this contract, the value of which was not disclosed, Hangyang will be responsible for the supply of equipment, engineering design, and installation.
The ASU will become a critical part of a 200,000 tonnes per year (tpy) caprolactam project that Jiangsu Haili has underway.