Top 10 news of China’s rubber industry in 2023

January 19,2024

2023 is an unforgettable year, 3 years epidemic dissipated, prevention and control of smooth transition, rubber industry to seize the opportunity of the continued launch of national policies, economic stabilization and improvement, showing a strong development resilience, in the post-epidemic era delivered a satisfactory answer sheet. Leveraging on the strong momentum of new energy vehicles, Chinese tire brands have emerged from the siege, reversing the situation where passenger cars are dominated by foreign brands. The process of internationalization was accelerated, overseas projects continued to increase, product production and sales were booming, and it became a strong engine for the parent company's performance growth.

Faced with the complex and severe international environment, the continued slowdown of the global economy, the increasing instability and uncertainty factors, and the situation where multiple domestic factors are intertwined and the downward pressure is still high, the entire industry has gone all out and successfully gone through the twists and turns and complexity 2023.

China Rubber Industry Association has sorted out the top ten news of the industry, which are epitomized and witnessed by history.

Revisit 2023, pay tribute to the old year, and forge ahead with the new journey.

01 Rubber industry resilience strong "building a strong foundation"

With the intensive implementation of a package of national policies to stabilize growth, expand domestic demand, promote consumption, and boost the private economy, the foundation for the rubber industry's economic recovery has been further consolidated. According to the statistics of China Rubber Industry Association, from January to October 2023, the output value, sales revenue and export delivery value realized a relatively large growth. Realized profit increased by 24.50% year-on-year (the same below), and the sales revenue profit margin has been above 4.75% in eight months, peaking at 6.43% in September. The number of loss-making enterprises decreased by 2.15%, and the amount of finished goods inventory fell by 6.55%, showing a strong resilience to economic development.

From the production point of view, according to the tire chapter statistics, from January to October 2023, all-steel tires and semi-steel tire capacity loading rate of 73.7% and 80.4%, respectively, an increase of 10.5 and 10.6 percentage points respectively, semi-steel tire market demand is significantly better than the all-steel tires.

The prices of main raw materials were in a downward trend year-on-year in the first half of the year, and continued to rise month-on-month in the third quarter, leading to a wave of price increases in the tire industry. Nevertheless, the first 10 months, carbon black, rubber chemicals, steel cord to achieve profits year-on-year is still a significant drop, of which carbon black fell 14.99%, additives fell 7.45%, skeleton materials fell 2.90%.


02 The joint construction of the “The Belt and Road” has achieved historic achievements

The 10 years since the joint construction of the "The Belt and Road" initiative was put forward, it has been the 10 years since my country's rubber tires have truly "went global" and achieved international development, with great achievements and extraordinary significance.

In order to further improve the strategic layout of globalization, localized production, to better meet the needs of global users, 2023 overseas bases have expanded the scale of investment. Among them, Sailun Group, Linglong Tire, General Science has formed an "overseas double base" development pattern. Sailun Vietnam Phase III, Guizhou Tire Vietnam Phase II, Hailide Vietnam Phase II, General Science, Sentury, Funuo Group, Xingda and other enterprises of Thailand Phase II, Double Star Tire Cambodia plant, the Chaoyang Long March Pakistan plant are in order to progress, the Sennics, Quechen Silicon, Zhiyi Zinc and other enterprises in Thailand to form a supporting supply capacity.

In 2023, the overseas map will continue to extend outward, starting the construction of the next "Golden Decade". Sentury Tire Morocco project started construction, becoming China's first enterprise to build tire projects in Africa. Sailun Group signed a contract for the Mexican project, becoming China's first enterprise to build tire projects in North America. Jinyu Tire (Vietnam) after the all-steel tire project, passenger tire project also laid the foundation stone at the end of the year. The second phase of Himile Mechanical Science and Technology Thailand and Cambodia company opened simultaneously, providing supporting services for overseas tire enterprises. General Science decided on December 27 to invest 1.498 billion yuan in the construction of the second phase of the Cambodian project. Haohua Tire, Firemax, Wanli Tire, Yue Long Tire, etc., all intend to build factories overseas.


03 Industrial upgrading cultivates "new kinetic energy", investment in new hot spots

In 2023, my country's automobile production and sales will hit a record high, new energy vehicles will continue to grow rapidly, the automobile export market will hit a record high again, and the industry scale will enter the 30 million-unit level. This provides new energy vehicle tires and non-tire rubber products with important opportunities for overtaking in corners.

Sailun Group to liquid gold technology to build passenger car tires, commercial vehicle tires, ZC Rubber re-launched the No. 1 EV PRO high-end new energy tires, Linglong leads the market in new energy tire matching share and launches the new Linglong Master series, Triangle Tire, Double Coin tires, Wanli Tire, Sentury, Prinx Chengshan, Guizhou Tire and other tire companies also continue to launch high-end products and new energy products. Tire companies also continue to launch high-end and new energy tire products.

China's tire product structure adjustment has accelerated, and new investment directions have emerged. Tire companies generally adjust or withdraw production capacity of all-steel tires with lower gross profit margins and replace them with passenger tires or special tires to promote high-quality development of the industry.

For example, Sailun Group's Qingdao factory has adjusted its off-highway tire product structure to specifications above 49 inches (inclusive), involving a production capacity of 40,000 tons/year. Linglong Tire Company proposed a "3+3" global strategic plan for off-highway tires by 2030. Jilin Linglong's first engineering radial tire rolled off the production line. Guangxi Linglong has accepted an annual production capacity of 60,000 units and plans to expand its annual production capacity to 110,000 units. General Science has adjusted the all-steel tire production capacity of its Wuxi plant, built 6 million/year semi-steel tires and 100,000/year engineering tire technical transformation projects, and terminated the Baotou tire project. Zhucheng Yongan withdrew from the production capacity of 1.2 million sets of all-steel tires and 6 million sets of semi-steel tires, and constructed an annual output of 100,000 tons of off-highway tire project. Double Coin Group (Jiangsu) started all-steel engineering radial tire capacity enhancement project, Double Coin Group (Anhui) constructs the second phase of passenger tire project, Aeolus Tyre invested in giant tires to expand capacity and efficiency projects. Guizhou Tire terminated the "annual output of 3 million sets of all-steel tire intelligent manufacturing project" to raise funds to invest in the annual output of 380,000 all-steel engineering tires, the first tire off the line. Wanli Tire aims to increase the annual production capacity of semi-steel tires from 24 million to 36 million by 2025, and the annual production capacity of all-steel tires from 2.4 million to 4.8 million. Bridgestone announced the closure of its commercial vehicle ancillary sales business in China. Michelin increased the construction of passenger tire projects, such as the second-phase expansion of the Shanghai plant to create a super-flexible, green and intelligent factory of the future, and the expansion of the Shenyang plant's capacity of 1.3 million units of tires per year. Sumitomo Rubber's orderly exit from truck and bus tires in China.


04 Product export "flowers bloom inside the wall and smells fragrant outside the wall"

Sales in the domestic replacement terminal market have not shown much improvement this year, but the overseas export market is particularly attractive, making up for the gap of sluggish domestic consumption and becoming an important driving force behind the increase in sales.

 According to the statistics of China Rubber Association, from January to October, the export rate (value) of the industry is 37.59%. Among them, the tire exports to maintain a high growth trend, the export rate (value) for several consecutive months to remain above 50%. Other specialties, latex for 42.37%, rubber machinery molds 39.36%, rubber auxiliaries 31.95%, skeleton materials 29.84%, accounting for more than 30%.

General Administration of Customs statistics show that from January to November, China's new pneumatic rubber tire exports of about 564 million, an increase of 11.4%; export weight of about 7.86 million tons, an increase of 16.8%; export delivery value of 137.51 billion yuan, an increase of 20.3%. Engineering industrial tire exports, become a unique presence. The export weight of 329,000 tons in the first 10 months, an increase of 35.5%; export delivery value of 1.07 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 44.4%. The average export price of 3.25 U.S. dollars / kg, an increase of 6.6%, and other tire series price decline, forming a strong contrast.


05 New breakthroughs in dealing with trade frictions

As the world economic growth rate slows down, the global tire market cyclical fluctuations into the downward range, Europe and the United States and other countries of China's trade remedy measures frequently.

On February 1, 2023, the Eurasian Economic Commission made a final anti-circumvention tax decision on my countrys anti-dumping case of truck tires; On March 30, a final taxation decision was made on the review case of changes in the anti-dumping situation of my country's truck tires. On April 4, the European Commission made a final ruling on the reinvestigation case of my country's "double anti-dumping" tax order on truck and bus tires. On October 20, the EU launched the first sunset review of anti-dumping duties on Chinese truck tires. July 28, the South African International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) made a final anti-dumping ruling on China's passenger car tires and truck and bus tires.

The trade friction cases faced by China in 2023 also include: Mexico's anti-dumping investigation on China's passenger car and light truck tires, the UK's transitional review investigation on China's truck tires, and the United States' annual review on China's truck tires, The eighth administrative review of "double-anti" by the United States against China's passenger car and light truck tires, the second anti-dumping sunset review by Thailand against China's motorcycle inner tubes, and the initiation of anti-circumvention investigations by Turkey against the anti-dumping cases of conveyor belts from China, India and Vietnam.

During the litigation process of the above-mentioned cases, our country's tire companies have received practical "exercise", but they should draw lessons from it. Tire companies on the one hand to regulate the operation and export order, try to avoid non-compliance, risky operation, Chinese enterprises have been non-compliance behavior to bear huge economic losses, some even pay the price of market exit. On the other hand, we should actively cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce, China Rubber Association work, live and learn to use legal weapons to deal with litigation, against unfair trade remedies, safeguard their own interests, and strive for the best results, salvage the overseas market, can not be greedy for the "ride" of the momentary benefit.

The first and second annual administrative reviews of the U.S. Department of Commerce's anti-dumping investigation of Thailand's passenger car and light truck tires, and the U.S. Department of Commerce's anti-dumping investigation of Thailand's truck tires have also had an indirect impact on our overseas bases.


06 Take the road of scientific and technological self-reliance, the effect of innovation is prominent

In 2023, the rubber tire industry's industry, academia, research institutes, upstream and downstream industries will break down boundaries and form symbiotic linkages to become stronger and realize the path of self-reliance and self-improvement through science and technology.

The research and development of liquid gold tires was launched, which became the fourth technological innovation with milestone significance in the rubber tire industry, and several channels of CCTV reported on liquid gold tires in 2023. Linglong Group in the original Central Asia tire test site on the basis of the layout of the construction of the middle of the road Huineng intelligent network test site, after completion of the traditional automobile testing and intelligent driving test to form a pattern of mutual support. On March 9, the "Research and Application Demonstration of Key Technologies in the Whole Rubber Tire Industry Chain" project jointly completed by Qingdao University of Science and Technology, Sailun Group, and Mesnac won the 7th China Industry Award. On May 15, the Tire Branch signed a contract with Shanghai University for the deep integration of industrial chain and innovation chain to promote the research and development of environmentally friendly exhaust gas treatment technology and industry application, which led to the upgrading of Sumitomo Rubber's vulcanization exhaust gas collection project. On July 20, Beijing University of Chemical Technology signed a contract for the world's first biodegradable polyester rubber industrialization project to increase the application of green rubber materials in gloves, tires, shoe materials and other fields. On October 10, Sentury Tire signed a contract with South China University of Technology and Qingdao University of Science and Technology to establish a "Joint Laboratory for R&D and Application of Green Low-Carbon Sustainable Tire Materials". On December 5, Sentury Tire cooperated with the Qingdao Institute of Energy, Chinese Academy of Sciences to realize the commercialization of iron-based comb-branched butadiene rubber in the field of ultra-high-performance UHP tires.

Innovation is the first power to lead development. Enterprises in the rubber industry should strengthen the creation, protection and application of intellectual property rights so that the results of intellectual labor can provide lasting impetus for enterprise development. Qingdao Double Star, Sentury, Huasheng Rubber Group, Chaoyang Long March, Huaxing Wanda, Daye Shares, Kemai Chemical, Saixiang Technology and other 29 rubber and tire enterprises have become the national intellectual property rights "demonstration enterprises" or "advantageous enterprises" in 2023. Saixiang Technology "a kind of high-efficiency three-drum building machine" won the Excellence Award of the 24th China Patent Award.


07 Intelligent transformation to digital transformation achieves "acceleration" and creates a green and low-carbon supply chain

In order to realize the "dual-carbon" strategy, China has accelerated the intelligent transformation, digital transformation, and accelerate the creation of a green and low-carbon supply chain, the rubber tire industry is showing a new trend of more intelligent, more green and more integrated.

Wisdom to change the number of turn to run out of "acceleration", is a strong industry to consolidate the foundation of a great country. ZC Rubber's "1+5+X Industrial Internet Platform" radiates product ID information genes to the whole industrial chain of research, production, supply, marketing, service and recycling of used tires, and has been named as the key industrial Internet platform in Zhejiang Province. The second one is also the 2.0 version of the future factory - Hangzhou Chaoyang Rubber Co., Ltd. green 5G digital factory project first tire off the line. Giti Tire took advantage of the relocation opportunity to build a new green and intelligent factory. Yongsheng Rubber implemented the transformation and upgrading project of semi-steel high-performance green radial tire equipment with artificial intelligence based on IoT technology. Double Arrow plans Taisheng Intelligent Company based on the future factory model to build 60 million square meters per year of intelligent conveyor belt projects. Sanlux to build "intelligent rubber industrial park", launched rubber V-belt, transmission belt intelligent production line. The intelligent workshop of the second phase of Shandong Xingda Steel Cord Project with an investment of 3 billion yuan was put into operation. Nantong Huili implements an intelligent manufacturing digitalization project in the waste rubber comprehensive utilization industry.

Integration of innovation is increasingly active and prosperous, laser intelligent marking, laser removal of isolation agents, laser workshop online mold cleaning research and development and other science and technology gradually into the tire industry.

The "dual-carbon" strategy is a reshuffle of tire companies and the most important opportunity for the industry to achieve high-quality development. The Action Plan for Continuous Improvement of Air Quality is the third national-level action plan to protect the blue sky after the "Ten Rules of the Atmosphere" in 2013, which puts forward further requirements on the environmental problem of bad odors and smells. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment has incorporated industrial noise into the management of emission licenses in accordance with the law. The Energy Efficiency Benchmarking Levels and Benchmarking Levels in Key Areas of Industry (2023 Edition) includes all-steel radial tires and semi-steel radial tires as new areas with large scale and volume, high energy intensity, and large space for transformation and upgrading, and promotes the categorization and implementation of transformation of enterprises in the industry based on the energy-efficiency benchmarking levels and benchmarking levels, and those whose energy efficiency is lower than the benchmarking levels shall, in principle, complete the technological transformation or be phased out and withdrawn by the end of 2026.

The country has vigorously carried out tire energy efficiency "Top Runner" activities, and ZC Rubber and Jinyu Tire have entered the list of national energy efficiency "Top Runner" companies for all-steel radial tires in 2022. ZC Rubber has entered the list of national energy efficiency "leaders" in semi-steel radial tires. 10 tire companies were shortlisted for the list of "leaders" in energy efficiency of key products in the petrochemical industry.

China Rubber Association has vigorously carried out basic statistical work on average energy consumption per unit product, including "Energy Consumption Limit per Unit of Product for Tires and Carbon Black" which has been submitted to the draft of mandatory national standard for approval, energy consumption limit per unit of product for various industries such as conveyor belts, steel cord, bead steel wire, force car tires, latex, etc. has been released or upgraded to group standard, the group standard "Carbon Emission Accounting Method for the Production of Vulcanized Rubber Powder and Recycled Rubber" is under review..

In 2023, the Rubber & Tire industry's work on smart change and green low-carbon transformation was recognized by the state, with a number of enterprises becoming demonstrations and models of transformation and development, and a number of technologies being encouraged and recommended. Four rubber industry enterprises, including ZC Rubber, Guizhou Tire, New Universal (Ningxia), and Longxing Chemical, entered the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's "5G Factory List 2023". Intelligent waste tire recycling technology and equipment, continuous green preparation of liquid recycled rubber production line, and multi-stage screw continuous desulfurization preparation of recycled rubber production line are listed in the "Catalogue of Major Environmental Protection Technology and Equipment Encouraged by the State (2023 Edition)". In the 2022 Green Manufacturing List and the 2023 Green Manufacturing (Public Announcement) List announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, there are 35 green factories and 7 green supply chain management companies in the rubber tire industry. Including Sailun, Triangle, Jinyu, Double Star Dongfeng, Zodo Tire, Double Coin (Xinjiang) Kunlun, Sanli Tire, Guangxi Linglong, Dezhou Linglong, Prinx Chengshan, Bridgestone (Wuxi), Zhejiang Double Arrow, Jiangsu Xingda, Bekaert, Longxing Chemical, Cabot (Xingtai), etc..


08 "Strong" barriers seriously affect export trade

In order to maintain their dominant position in international economic relations, developed countries have not only shifted their own carbon emissions to developing countries, but have also erected barriers in various dimensions, including technology, trade and "greenness". As the century of change accelerates and the world economy struggles to recover, these barriers are taking on new forms, which will seriously affect the import and export trade of developing countries, led by my country, and will become an important barrier that needs to be broken through for the development of international trade in all countries.

The EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), adopted on March 15, 2023, is the world's first proposal to address climate change in the form of carbon tariffs; on June 30, the EUDR formulated by the EU, which is an important market for China's tires exports, formally came into effect; on July 28, the EU enacted the New Battery Bill, which became a barrier for new energy vehicles to be exported to the EU; on October 1, the state of California required tire manufacturers to find potential alternatives to the rubber antioxidant 6PPD by the end of March 2024, otherwise they will stop selling tires containing 6PPD in California; on December 18, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached an agreement that the "European Stage 7 Emission Standards (Euro 7)" introduced emission limits for ultra-fine particles produced by tire wear for the first time. These measures will affect my country's tire exports to a certain extent in the future.


09 The rise of domestic products and the leap of independent brands to the middle and high end of the value chain

Benefit from inflation in Europe and the United States, China's new energy vehicles, the emergence of new consumer attitudes and ways of driving, domestic tire products cost-effective advantage highlights the brand premium and the international giants of the gap is getting smaller and smaller, more and more consumers are willing to try the national brand, enhance the national brand in the global visibility and reputation. From passenger cars to commercial vehicles, from traditional fuel vehicles to new energy vehicles, China's tire products have gradually become the preferred supporting partners of the world's major automotive brands.

As an external expression of cultural confidence, the "national trend" is stimulating consumer vitality, with high-quality passenger tire products emerging, and off-highway tires, which are even more unique. CCTV launched the "Chinese brands worth recommending to Asia" activity, Sailun liquid gold tires as one of the outstanding Chinese brands to promote to the whole of Asia. Sailun Group will continue to be the exclusive tire supplier for the "CJ SUPERRACE GT CLASS" racing event in Korea in 2024. As the global official tire partner of Arsenal Football Club, WEST LAKE appeared at the Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal, with advertisements on the sidelines displaying the flagship brand of ZC Group in Europe.

Since the launch of the winter tire high-speed rail brand special train, in 2023, the Triangle Tire high-speed rail brand special train will be launched in Hangzhou for the Asian Games. Triangle Tire has also sponsored the Weihai Super Triathlon. Huasheng, Fangxing, Yongsheng, Jinyu four tire companies, in the name of "Guangrao rubber tire characteristics of industrial clusters" joint title high-speed train debut. Wanda Boto tire title Dongying Marathon.

The leap in brand value also comes from the industry's own change in values. The industry resisted low-priced competition, advocated positive, positive sales concepts, publicize and build brand image, standardize market operations and channel construction, the industry has achieved a reasonable return of profits, towards a healthy and sustainable development path.


10 Leading enterprises are active in mergers and reorganization

On January 6, 2023, Wangneng Environment completed the acquisition of the equity of Nantong Huili Rubber, holding 90% of the shares. On February 10, Zhonghong Pulin Medical signed a 541 million yuan merger and acquisition of 70% equity in Guilin Hengbao, thus completing the high-end layout in the field of latex surgical gloves in addition to the leading products of PVC gloves and nitrile gloves. In June, Hainan Rubber completed the merger and acquisition of Hesheng Agriculture, holding 68.10%. On July 29, the Black Cat shares controlling subsidiary acquired 100% equity interest in Lvliang Black Cat New Material with 150 million RMB, which has the capacity of special carbon black by gas mixing method. In July, the expansion project of ZC Rubber (Tianjin) agricultural radial tire and bias engineering tire workshop was completed, which is the first project constructed after the mixed-ownership reform.

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