At the beginning of reform and opening up, China’s copper processing industry is relatively backward in production level and equipment technology level, with small production scale, low product precision, low variety and low productivity. In the 1970s, there were more than 160 copper processing enterprises in China. In 1978, China’s copper output was 182,000 tons. The overall equipment technology is basically lower than the international level at the same time, not only the low yield, but also the product accuracy is far from the foreign counterparts.
After 40 years of hard work, the varieties of copper processed materials in China have also undergone tremendous changes, and the development of new products and new materials has been remarkable. From January to October 2018, the output of copper processed materials in China was 13.9124 million tons, an increase of 11.23% year-on-year. China has become a well-deserved world copper processing material manufacturing center and an important force in promoting the development of the world copper processing industry. At present, China’s copper processing materials have many varieties and specifications, and a complete standard system has been established. The technology, equipment, technology and quality have reached the international level. Among them, the world of copper pipes is leading, the bar line is synchronized with the international advanced level, and the strip foil is narrowing the gap with the advanced level.
As of 2018, the total number of copper and copper alloy grades in China has reached 317. The standards for copper pipes for air conditioning and refrigeration have been recognized and adopted by many countries in the world. The number of patents related to copper processing in China reached 4,386 (including invention patents, utility models and designs), accounting for 43% of the total number of patents in the world. In recent years, the number of patent applications in China’s copper processing industry is steadily increasing every year. In terms of corporate brand building, international famous brands such as Jinlong, Hailiang, Chujiang New Materials, Xingye Copper, Jintian and Bowei have been formed.
In 2018, the top five provinces in terms of cumulative copper production in the whole year were Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Guangdong, accounting for 18.04%, 15.12%, 14.59%, 13.92%, and 13.43%, respectively. The cumulative production of the provinces accounted for 75.09% of the country’s total output. In the downstream of copper consumption in Ningbo, Shaoxing, Zhejiang has formed a production base of copper strip, copper tube and copper rod. Ningbo City has gathered many well-known copper processing enterprises in China. Wuhu New Materials, Zhongyuan Copper and Xinke Copper in Anhui Wuhu The only domestic copper plate company listed. In the upstream copper smelting Anhui Tongling, Jiangxi Yingtan, Hubei Huangshi, Shandong Dongying, Liaocheng and other areas have built copper processing materials production base, mainly producing copper wire, pipe, strip and so on. In 2018, with the migration of air-conditioning manufacturers to the central and western regions, Jinlong, Hailiang and Jintian also laid copper tube production bases in Chongqing. The copper processing industry has shown a shift to the central and western regions. In addition, the pace of international capacity cooperation has accelerated, domestic mergers and acquisitions have begun, and industrial concentration has gradually increased.
It is worth noting that the recent investment in electrolytic copper foil has overheated, capacity expansion has been rapid, and processing fees have continued to fall. In the first half of 2018, 12 companies added electrolytic copper foil production capacity, totaling about 81,000 tons. In the second half of 2018, 6 companies added 33,000 tons of electrolytic copper foil capacity. It is estimated that there will be 286,000 tons of capacity planning and construction in 2019 and beyond.
After 40 years of rapid development in reform and opening up, China’s copper strips and copper foils are at the stage of international “follow-and-run” and “run and run”. Copper rods and rods belong to the stage of “running” and “leading”, and copper pipes are “leading” stage. The copper processing industry is becoming more urgent for high quality development. 2018 is the year of deepening structural reforms on the supply side of China’s non-ferrous metals industry. On the one hand, the copper processing industry still has problems of low-end overcapacity, high-end products relying on imports, and “big but not strong”. At the same time, there are problems such as large pressure on environmental and supply-side structural reforms, insufficient innovation capacity, and insufficient investment; On the other hand, the new round of scientific and technological revolution and the rise of the industrial revolution have formed a historic convergence with China’s accelerated transformation of economic development mode, and the international industrial division of labor is being reshaped. In order to seize this historical opportunity, the State Council established a national new material industry development leading group composed of 23 departments, and deployed work priorities from the aspects of strengthening overall coordination, focusing on development priorities, improving platform construction, and expanding application areas. The local government is making every effort to promote the rapid development of the new materials industry.
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