Internet boosts packaging sector

Updated: 2015-04-07 08:45

By LYU CHANG(China Daily)

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Internet boosts packaging sector

A cardboard-box maker in Huaying, Sichuan province. The paper industry is on the upswing in China due to rising demand from e-commerce companies. [Photo/China Daily]

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At a temperature-controlled Kemira laboratory in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, one can find lab workers and technicians huddled over consoles and machines taking notes and entering measurements in carefully calibrated charts.

Most of the research and work at the laboratory is centered on developing additives for water-intensive industries such as the paper industry. Situated in Nanjing's chemical industrial park, it is just one of the many research institutions that is working on cutting-edge technologies for paper and pulp manufacturing industries.

Research findings from the Nanjing laboratory have already made a big difference to the Helsinki, Finland-based Kemira Oyj, the world's largest paper chemicals maker. According to company officials, the new findings have helped Kemira boost annual output by 100,000 metric tons, especially at a time when most of its peers are downsizing production.

Jari Rosendal, president and CEO of Kemira, told China Daily that though the global paper industry has shrunk in size due to less use of printing and writing paper, it is on the upswing in China due to rising demand from e-commerce companies.

"You have no idea of how much it (China) means to the packaging industry," he said. "On days when people go on an online shopping spree, billions of cardboard boxes are consumed."

While online shopping is just one part of the growing demand in China, the other centers on the growing use of paper tissue products. Demand has risen for paper tissue products ranging from basic sanitary paper to niche products like waterproof kitchen paper towels and recyclable tissues, said industry experts.

China has tripled its paper production capacity in the last 10 years, and in 2009 zoomed past the United States as the world's biggest papermaker. The size of the industry can be gauged from the fact that China's three weeks of paper output now equals the entire annual output of Wisconsin, the top papermaking state in the US.

Rosendal said that along with economic growth, China's demand for paper and pulp products has grown quickly in the past decade, but the market is not growing as fast as in the past, as people are going online for news and information, thereby using less printing paper.

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