The paper industry is not going anywhere, even though digital consumerism is growing at a rapid rate throughout the world. Asian markets are proving that there is still a very high demand for paper materials, and this trend does not appear to be headed for a reversal any time soon.
The continent as a whole has the highest concentration of people on Earth, and so the success of a product can be largely tied to its profitability in this area. Asia's paper producers are not slowing down their output, which is indicative of the long-term power of print.
China is expanding production of paper goods
According to Want China Times, Chinese manufacturers churned out 118 million tons of paper last year, including 6 million tons of exports. The source reported that expansion within the domestic market has led to a level of demand that is beyond the industry's capacity. Companies like the Huatai Group, which is the largest producer of newsprint in China, are actually importing pulp from places like India, Australia and Thailand in order to fulfill orders and maintain viability.
In addition, several Chinese paper distributors have begun to ply their trade overseas. However, the source said, due to a number of factors, such as varying foreign policies and cultural differences,certain challenges have arisen for these companies.
For example, Nine Dragons Paper attempted to move into Vietnam in 2008 by acquiring a 60 percent stake in a paper factory. However, the plan to expand production in this region was hindered by the economic crisis, and it was not until 2013 that the company was able to accomplish its goal.
The source also noted that Shandong-based manufacturer Sun Paper invested $200 million in a production line in Laos that would directly convert wood into pulp and pulp into paper in one facility. The organization has seen progress obstructed due to local government obstacles, even after planting 100,000 hectares of trees in the country with the intent of harvesting them for production.
Chinese paper manufacturers are likely to see further expansion in coming years once kinks like these are worked out, which is indicative strength and stability in the global industry.
The Asian paper market is strong, and has potential for growth
China is the world's leading distributor of paper goods, accounting for $144.3 billion in 2013, but Japan was not far behind. According to Statista figures, Japanese companies garnered $116.9 billion in 2013, making up approximately one-third of the total Asian market, which was valued at $349.6 billion that year.
The Sun Daily reported that the Asia-Pacific printing industry is projected to grow in the next five years at a rate between 8 and 10 percent, according to Forum for Asia Pacific Graphic Arts chairman Liew Chee Kong. This boom will be one of the focal points at the upcoming FAPGA continental conference, to be held in August and hosted by the Malaysia Printers Association.
More people live in Asia than anywhere else on Earth, and the demand for paper products in this region is so high that companies are struggling to meet it without purchasing foreign materials. The world's leader in paper production, China, is experiencing success and growth by looking beyond domestic pulp suppliers, since the commodity is so hotly pursued by competitors.
While technology continues to develop at a rapid pace and people are consuming digital products at an unprecedented rate, paper appears to be steadily holding its own in global markets. Asia is still producing massive quantities of goods each year, and manufacturers are aiming to grow their international reach by expanding their facilities and distribution into neighboring countries.