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Reflections of Hainan

This week I’ve been at the Carbon Black China conference in Haikou, Hainan, China, where Notch was honored to present a keynote address on future prospects of the global carbon black industry. The Chinese conference is held every other year at different locations in China. The conference has been held for many years but was only opened up to international attendees ten years ago, in 2006. Notch has presented papers at the last three CBC conferences, held in Guilin, Hangzhou, and Kunming. The conference is heavily focused on the Chinese industry, and attendance is about 90% Chinese. The papers are quite comprehensive and detailed, with a level of information sharing that would be unusual in a Western conference. There is an assumption that if a Chinese company determines a better way to do something, they have an obligation to share their findings.

The mood at the conference was cautiously optimistic, as China’s carbon black industry had a very tough year in 2015. Production volumes in China declined year-over-year by 1.9% to just over 5 million tons — the industry’s first annual decline in some 20 years. Exports declined 13% in 2015 while domestic demand was flat. Selling prices fell sharply due to both lower feedstock and energy prices as well as intense price pressures brought on by overcapacity and a weak tire industry, which is also faces weaker demand and severe overcapacity. Fan Ruxin of the China Carbon Black Institute presented the results of the industry’s 12th Five Year Plan, which ended in 2015, along with a blueprint for improvements to be implemented in the 13th Five Year Plan, which began in 2016. Dr. Soumen Chakraborty of Himadri Chemicals & Industries presented an excellent paper on the Future Prospects of the Carbon Black industry, Michael Spahr of IMERYS Graphite & Carbon gave a talk on Conductive Blacks, and Anil Kumar of PVTI gave a talk outlining a 360 degree approach to the business. All in all another excellent conference from the folks at China Carbon Black.

Photos: Hainan Taoism Cultural Court

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