November 30, 2018, Ningbo, China – Today, Sinochem International (SH 600500) and Ningbo Xiangshan County People's Government signed an investment agreement in Ningbo. Under the agreement, Sinochem International plans to invest a total of RMB 3.5 billion in constructing a production base and an R&D innovation center for membranes at the Xiangshan Economic Development Zone in Ningbo. As another important measure within the new strategic layout of Sinochem International, the project marks the official settlement of Sinochem International’s membrane business in Xiangshan and will become a platform to promote the R&D of high-performance membrane materials and industrial upgrading in China.
As agreed, Sinochem International's membrane production base and R&D innovation center project will cover an area of about 123 mu in Phase I; a joint venture will be founded, and the construction of a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane production base with an annual output of 220,000 will be the focus.
(Sinochem International and Ningbo Xiangshan County People's Government signed an investment agreement)
The signing ceremony took place in the Ningbo Municipal Administration Center, where Liu Hongsheng, General Manager of Sinochem International, Chen Baoshu, Chief Technology Officer of Sinochem International, Chen Zhongchao, Member of the Standing Committee of CPC Ningbo Municipal Committee and Executive Deputy Mayor of Ningbo, Ye Jianming, Secretary of CPC Xiangshan County Committee, and Huang Huanli, Deputy Secretary of CPC Xiangshan County Committee and County Magistrate, were present.
(Liu Hongsheng, General Manager of Sinochem International, delivered a speech at the signing ceremony)
Liu Hongsheng, General Manager of Sinochem International, noted in his speech at the signing ceremony, "Our membrane production base project in Xiangshan is another important measure that aligns with the strategic layout of Sinochem International in the sector of new materials. China's membrane industry is now seeing multiple strategic opportunities. In this stage, energy structure adjustment, new energy development, environmental protection, and traditional process transformation are all in urgent need of support from the membrane industry; however, the domestic membrane community is faced with a low localization rate, lack of core technology, limited application, insufficient supporting capacities, among other challenges. Sinochem International’s investment in building a production base and an R&D innovation center for membranes will help China improve its independent innovation capability and core competitiveness in the field of membrane materials, thus facilitating the rapid development of the domestic membrane industry."
As a strategic new material, the high-performance membrane has been included in the special projects identified by China's 13th Five-Year Plan. The application of new materials including membranes has been listed by the State Council and four national ministries and commissions as the top priority among the nine key areas that call for breakthroughs. In 2017, the total value of China's membrane materials industry was around RMB 130 billion and is estimated to reach RMB 250 billion in 2022.
The RO membrane that Sinochem International plans to invest in the first phase of the Xiangshan project is a kind of high-performance membrane mainly applied to seawater desalination, electronic semiconductors, coal chemical, petrochemical, non-ferrous metals, and municipal utility water as an alternative to traditional high-investment, high-energy, low-efficiency technologies. Along with the increasing environmental regulation all over the world, the market size of RO membrane products is expected to reach up to RMB10 billion.
Starting from RO membranes, Sinochem International will also gradually expand its operation in other high-performance membranes such as nanofiltration membranes, electrodialysis membranes, and degassing membranes. By incorporating high-performance membrane products, application technology, and ongoing R&D into its core competitiveness, the company is to create an innovative business model featuring “Product + Process + Service”, aiming to become the world's leading provider of integrated membrane solutions and contribute to the continuous upgrade of China's membrane industry.
Located in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, Ningbo boasts international port resources, a perfect industrial chain and preferential talent policies, which is conducive to connecting to the international market and attracting outstanding talent. In recent years, with a focus on new materials, Ningbo plans to grow itself into the “Chinese capital of membranes”, home to a high-tech membrane industry worth tens of billions.
Sinochem International moves fast along its strategic path in the sector of new materials. In May 2017, it established the Science and Technology Innovation Center in Shanghai to launch its R&D on functional membrane materials; in August of the same year, Sinochem International broke away technical barriers and presented a degassing membrane module integrated with its core patented technology at the ICIF China. In August of this year, the company and DIC Corporation co-founded the Sinochem-DIC Cross-Phase Membrane Laboratory, designed to an engineering-based R&D platform for new product development and application, as well as an engine powering Sinochem’s membrane business