At Afera’s most recent Annual Conference in Hamburg, AWA’s Corey Reardon presented, along with his own insights into the global and European specialty tape markets, a collection of data and trends in the Asian market. This was prepared by Evert Smit, Afera Technical Committee chairman and head of R&D at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG, based on information he gathered at the latest GTF and GTMC Meetings. Held in Beijing, China, 17-20 May 2016, the Meetings were hosted by CATIA at its technical conference themed “Innovation and co-operation for a green tape industry".
Mr. Reardon prefaced his talk with the explanation that discrepancies in the slide data presented boil down to definitions. Some of the association and regional data coming out of Asia is segmented very differently from that presented in AWA’s 2015 study Global Specialty Tape Market Overview: Growth and Opportunities.
The bottom line: Asia represents a large part of the total adhesive tape market (50%), although the data shows it is not always heading upward. Companies tend to be involved in commodity and low-value tape production and export. Asian technological development is increasing, as evidenced by the increasing number of patents registered per country in the region. Collaboration among industry associations, such as in the Global Tape Forum (GTF), is globalising the adhesive tape industry.
It’s not always growth, growth, growth in Asia
Markets in Asia, particularly the more mature market of Japan, are not growing, said Mr. Reardon. Asian companies most often operate at the low end of the market, not at the more specialty high end. Collaboration among leading companies and industry organisations is becoming an important theme in Asian adhesive tape technology and market development.
Innovation, IP, education, R&D and size are some of the dominant forces that are coming out of Asia. But Asia is not a paper tiger. Today it represents almost 50% of the total tape market and about 40% of the specialty tape market, but in the future, it will not necessarily be driving growth.
Across the globe, top innovative companies in adhesive tapes include Nitto Denko, tesa/Maxingvest, 3M and Sekisui, to name a few.
Global distribution of specialty tapes patents in 2010
The period between 1995 and 2010 is characterised by a shift in the number of patents registered among tape companies globally. Looking back to 1995, we see that Japan was #1 in terms of specialty tape patents, with 10,841 related to specialty tapes. The U.S. was #2 at 4,338, followed by China, Germany, etc. 2010’s list marks a shift: China, which was #3, became #1 with 26,846, while Japan was bumped to #2 and the U.S. to #3. South Korea climbed from #5 to #4. Most interestingly, Taiwan climbed from #12 in 1995 to #6 in 2010.
Global R&D spending per country
In terms of R&D spending per country, Finland surpasses all other countries in number of scientists and engineers per million people. In amount of R&D spent as a percentage of GDP, Finland is second only to Israel and South Korea. In actual amount of annual R&D spending per country, the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, South Korea and France lead, respectively. Large developing markets include China, India, Brazil and Mexico.
As presented by CATIA, The China Adhesives and Tape Industry Association (www.cnaia.org), Chinese growth in terms of output was at 9% in 2013. Mr. Smit believes this softened up a bit in 2016. Statistics also show growth in value of output. 2011-2015 statistics show growth is softening up, but this includes all categories of tapes, i.e. packaging tapes, masking tapes, etc. A segment-to-market chart reveals packaging tape as the largest category of production at 52%.
Mapping of hot topics in China’s adhesive tape industry covers all the bases in terms of films, substrates, coatings, release liners, adhesion, etc.
Chinese exports are steadily increasing. There is a significant difference between import volume and import value: High-end, high-value adhesive tapes are imported, while lower-value tapes are exported. China plans to reverse this trend.
TAAT, The Taiwan Regional Association of Adhesive Tape Manufacturers (www.taiwantape.com), is one of the most developed associations in the region with an extensive archive of market data and statistics. In 2014, TAAT conducted its annual direct survey among 60 member and non-member tape manufacturers in Taiwan.
The market is fairly concentrated, with 21 companies exceeding a capitalisation of $3 billion and producing 90% of the volume in the market. Taiwan has a high percentage of export: Since 1995, adhesive tape volume has exceeded domestic sales in Taiwan. In 2014, 75% of production was exported largely to China.
Taiwanese production is concentrated in OPP and SPVC tapes, which represent about 75% of total production. Adhesive labels made up another 7.4% of total production. Mr. Reardon said that the Taiwanese tape industry focuses less on specialty tape and more on commodity-type volume packaging tape. A specific breakdown of data in terms of the two segments, however, was not supplied by TAAT.
Taiwan’s adhesive tape production in 2014 concentrated on OPP (66%), PVC (10%), adhesive labels (7%) and others (17%). Of the latter segment, 62% were paper tapes, 6% were double-sided tapes and others 32%.
The impact of the global recession between 2008 and 2012 can been seen clearly in Taiwanese adhesive tape production data. Production has increased since 2012.
JATMA, The Japanese Adhesive Tapes Manufacturers Association (www.jatma.jp), has released market production data through 2015.
In 2015, adhesive tape output in Japan was estimated at 983.27 million square metres (msm), which was the lowest between 2005 and 2015. Over this period, tape output was limited to a range of 1-1.2 billion square metres (bsm). On the other hand, sales revenue was over $1 billion, the same level as that of 2008. Although output volume has not increased, sales revenue improved because “expensive PSA tape production increased”.
Mr. Reardon emphasised that Japan, which is the largest market geographically in Asia, is not driving growth in the region. Japanese tape production volumes are softening up, although definitions of tapes and categories did not accompany the data supplied in the published slides. Japanese tape sales value is not declining as much as volume, having been fairly stable over the last decade.
The Global Tape Forum (GTF)
On behalf of Mr. Smit, Mr. Reardon underlined the great importance of developing close ties with Afera’s international counterparts. The GTF (www.globaltapeforum.com) is a not-for-profit global organisation created by the adhesive tape industry for the industry in 2009.
One of the organisation’s objectives is to harmonise key adhesive tape methods (TMs). Hundreds of TMs are in existence, and standardising them across regions and markets improves business for every entity in the supply chain. To read more about the GTF’s latest meetings, visit 2016 meetings.
About Evert Smit
Evert Smit has been working in the adhesive business for over 23 years, primarily on pressure sensitive adhesives. He has experience at different points in the value chain, from raw materials to final tape application, and in different areas of technology, from basic research to customer technical service. Having worked for National Starch & Chemical (Unilever, ICI), Henkel and Arizona Chemical, Mr. Smit joined Lohmann in September 2015 to lead the PSA technical teams.
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