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April 27, 2024

Nipsea coating plant in Tianjin to go online in June

Visitors gather at Nippon Paint China”s booth during an industry fair in Shanghai in August. The Singapore-based Nipsea Group is the parent company of Nippon Paint China. [PHOTO/CHINA DAILY]

Driven by an automobile production boom in China, Nipsea Group, parent company of Nippon Paint China, will bring a new plant online with an investment of 960 million yuan ($133 million) in Tianjin in June, said its top executive.

The Singapore-based company’s Tianjin plant will focus on producing industrial coatings to meet surging demand from China’s automotive sector.

Nipsea will also launch a new innovation center with 1,000 researchers and staff members in Shanghai in early 2026. It will be Nipsea’s largest such facility in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wee Siew Kim, CEO of Nipsea, said the company aims to consolidate its tech teams, enabling them to generate even greater value for the group’s business in China by early 2026.

Nipsea, one of the world’s largest coatings and construction solutions manufacturers by sales revenue, was established by Goh Cheng Liang, an overseas Chinese entrepreneur, in Singapore in 1962. Its country unit Nippon Paint China currently runs 70 plants with around 11,000 employees across the country.

“While we are currently strong in the automotive segment, this sector is undergoing significant changes. For instance, electric vehicles currently constitute a fraction of total car sales, but this is expected to increase dramatically between 2030 and 2040 as gasoline-powered vehicles decline,” said Wee.

Moreover, hybrid vehicles are also gaining in popularity. Currently, China is the largest EV market globally and is home to some of the world’s leading EV manufacturers, he added.

Noting that technologies will accelerate fairly fast in China — and as a paints and coatings manufacturer with a strong entry or at least a strong presence with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) — Wee said Nipsea can ride the EV wave by supplying battery materials, insulation and cabling harness products.

The Beijing-based China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said local and international automakers in China manufactured a record 30.16 million vehicles in 2023. They also delivered 30.09 million units, another record, marking increases of 11.6 percent and 12 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Because Chinese manufacturers rely on talent, supply chains and products from China when expanding into Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, the first step is for Nipsea’s Chinese team to work with the company’s local teams in these countries to transfer the formula for success. This collaboration ensures that customers see no interruptions or changes in their expected outcomes, said Wee.

“As an auto company expands internationally, its parts suppliers also move abroad. Consequently, we are seeing numerous Chinese parts suppliers establishing operations in countries like Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. We are making efforts to at least secure a portion of that business,” he explained.

Following China’s announcement that it has lifted all restrictions on foreign investment in the manufacturing sector and implemented measures to ensure equal treatment for foreign-funded companies, Wee said that these moves have greatly bolstered Nipsea’s confidence in the country.

The executive said that China serves as an excellent example, particularly in the paints and coatings industry, where it has been one of the fastest-evolving markets over the last two decades. Nipsea Group has greatly benefited from innovations in the marketplace, as well as products and business strategies originating from China, including the adoption of platforms like WeChat for mobile business operations.

Supported by 29,000 employees with 121 manufacturing facilities and operations across the world, Nipsea’s arsenal of solutions for the industry covers architectural, industrial, protective, automotive and marine coatings.

China’s ongoing industrial upgrade and dedication to environmental sustainability will continue to strengthen its competitive stance globally, attracting multinational corporations that are keen to establish innovation and manufacturing facilities in the country, said Wang Xiaosong, a professor at Renmin University of China’s School of Economics in Beijing.

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