Far East Report

Nonwovens Production Trends In Asia

By Kin Ohmura, Osaka Chemical Service | March 20, 2014

India, Thailand and Indonesia are expected to scale up in production.

The table shows the output of nonwovens in Asian countries. Gross production has increased steadily and was estimated at 3.2 million tons in 2012. China represents the majority, an overwhelming 67% of output or 2.1 million tons. Japan is ranked second but it is much smaller than China. Japan’s nonwovens industry has still not recovered from the worldwide recession and production has decreased since 2009. Meanwhile, production levels in Korea started to decrease in 2012 after steadily increasing for several years before that. Output in Taiwan decreased 20% in 2012 after increasing in 2010-2011. On the contrary, production in India is increasing.

In terms of output by country, China and India have been changing steadily so production expansion in Asia depends heavily on these two countries. The nonwovens industry in those two countries will continue to grow as population rates increase. In addition to China and India, Thailand and Indonesia are expected to scale up in production due to the large population of the area despite low productivity.

In terms of processes, spunbond and meltblown occupy 45% of the market; needlepunch accounts for 27%, spunlace accounts for 11%, thermal bonded accounts for 6% and chemical bond represents 5%. In China and India, the quantity of production of spunbond/meltblown nonwovens is particularly large but in Korea, needlepunch production is just as large as spunbond/meltblown. Taiwan has decent sized needlepunch and spunlace markets, with both representing the same size.

Although various methods are used in different countries to process nonwovens, the spunbond/meltblown method is used in most countries for diapers.
China, India and Indonesia all have low penetration levels of diapers made from nonwovens and demand is expected to increase rapidly with the future economic development. Subsequently, the demand for spunbond/meltblown nonwovens will expand with the economic development of those countries.