Eastman: More growth in China with NEV, high-end car demand
Eastman Chemical Co, the Tennessee-based specialty materials manufacturer, anticipates more growth opportunities in China thanks to the country's soaring sales of new energy vehicles and consumers' demand for high-end automotive accessories.
Benefiting from the country's effective control of COVID-19 and quick economic recovery, especially in the area of consumption, the company is expanding its training center for paint-protection film in Shanghai and plans to put it into operation in early May to reinforce its services by adopting more advanced equipment and professional workshops, said Patty Zhang, commercial director for Asia-Pacific at Eastman's performance film business unit.
The company to date has built a sales network for its V-KOOL brand in more than 1,000 stores across China and will introduce new products such as the window films made by nanometer ceramic for electric vehicles, and the next generation films that protect the car paint in this massive market.
"After more than a decade of rapid development, China's auto market has now gradually turned into a stock market of sorts," said Zhang. "Car owners nowadays have a far better understanding of various automobile models, their features and technologies and exercise better care than before."
"China's effort to push the dual circulation growth pattern will sustain growth in the coming years, building up strength in both domestic demand and foreign trade to meet challenges in a new development stage," she said, adding the country maintained its position as a major market for the group's business in Asia-Pacific region, which contributed 25 percent of Eastman's sales revenue in 2020.
The total car sales volume reached 6.48 million units in China in the first quarter of this year, soaring 75.6 percent on a yearly basis, according to the latest data released by the Beijing-based China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The car sales surged 74.9 percent year-on-year to 2.53 million units in China in March, while new energy vehicles also showed positive growth in both production and sales, which recorded 216,000 and 226,000 units, respectively, both expanding more than twofold over last year.
Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Beijing-based Institute of Industrial Economics, which is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said both China's new vehicle market and the used-car segment will see stable growth in the long term.
"Young consumers in China no longer use a car for many years until it is beyond repair. Rather, they tend to change cars to keep pace with the evolution of automobile technologies. They want to experience the newest features when they are launched," he said.