China Market Insider The Top 10 Chemical Companies in China

Author / Editor: Henrik Bork, Ahlam Rais* / Ahlam Rais

The world’s largest chemical company will soon be in China! The merger of chemical giants Sinochem and ChemChina has recently been approved, thus, paving the way for Sinochem Holdings, a mighty single organisation with estimated sales of more than 144 billion dollars! In this background, we bring to you the top 10 chemical companies in China making headlines.

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The top 10 chemical companies in China making headlines.
The top 10 chemical companies in China making headlines.
(Source: ©Jegas RA - stock.adobe.com)

1. Sinochem Holdings

Estimated Sales: More than 144 billion dollars

More than 200,000 employees

The merger of the two state-owned enterprises Sinochem and Chem­China is now in progress. Once complete, the new company —  Sinochem Holdings will be established which will hold 100 % stake of both Sinochem and ChemChina. Wholly owned by Sasac (state-owned assets supervision and administration commission), this will be the world’s largest chemical company which will focus on the three key sectors of “life science, material science, and environmental science”, states Sinochem CEO Yang Hua.

“It’s all about ‘transformation’, and after the merger, the new company will want to benchmark itself only against the biggest and best chemical companies on earth,” opined Ning Gaoning, who currently heads both the merging state-owned enterprises.

2. Sinopec
Sales: 61.3 billion dollars
249,142 employees
CEO: Zhang Yuzhou

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is the largest producer of oil and petrochemical products in China. It is also the largest refining company and the third-largest chemical company in the world which adheres to global standards. The company’s vast product portfolio includes a wide range of petrochemical products, including synthetic resins, plastic fibers, synthetic monomers and polymers, chemical intermediates of all kinds, synthetic plastics, and chemical fertilizers. In 2019, Sinopec’s sales were down 7 percent, and the first quarter of 2020 was also difficult for the group due to the nationwide lockdown in China. However, as early as the second quarter, its finances have recovered.

3. PetroChina
Sales: 22 billion dollars
506,000 employees
CEO: Dai Houliang

PetroChina is the listed arm of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The corporation is active in producing and processing crude oil and gas, the production and marketing of products made from oil and gas, and the production of petrochemical products of all kinds. In 2019, even before the Corona crisis, the group’s sales had plunged 4 percent and profits as much as 56 percent. Completely undeterred, PetroChina is investing in more and more new large-scale plants, including one for the production of ethylene from ethane.

4. Hengli Petrochemical
Sales: 15 billion dollars
81,350 employees
CEO: Chen Jianhua

Hengli Petrochemical Co. is active in petroleum refining, petrochemical products, aromatics, PTA, polyester technical yarns, engineering plastics, and many more. In 2019, Hengli Petrochemical increased its sales by about two-thirds, not through acquisitions or mergers, but by opening proprietary production facilities. This year, the company is predicted to grow further, with a new ethylene cracker and a new plant to produce pure terephthalic acid (PTA) in the pipeline.

5. Rongsheng Petrochemical
Sales: 13.4 billion dollars
11,710 employees
CEO: Li Shuirong

Rongsheng Petrochemical Co. is one of China’s leading private chemical companies and one of the very few that can compete in the league of large state-owned enterprises. Rongsheng Petrochemical manufactures petrochemical products and especially man-made fibers of all kinds. Aromatic hydrocarbons, PTA, and PET, are also produced. In PTA, the company is one of the largest producers in the world. In 2019, the first phase of a new ‘green’ composite site with an annual capacity of 40 million tons of crude oil had been put into operation in Zhoushan, Zhejiang.

6. Hengyi Petrochemical
Sales: 11.5 billion dollars
16,557 employees
Chief Executive: Qiu Yibo

Hengyi Petrochemical Co. is now the world’s largest producer of PTA and polyester fibers. The company has grown into a conglomerate with 35 subsidiaries that have been the market leader in chemical fiber production in China for the past five years. Production capacity is 13.5 million tons per year for PTA, 300,000 tons for CPL. Furthermore, it produces PET chips and every kind of polyester fiber imaginable. In 2019, sales plummeted by almost 10 percent, but profits nearly doubled. The group is currently investing in new facilities for the production of functional man-made fibers.

7. Syngenta Group
Sales: 10.5 billion dollars
48,000 employees
CEO: Ning Gaoning, alias Frank Ning

Syngenta has been a Chinese company since it was acquired by ChemChina for about 43 billion dollars, only in 2000, from a merger of Novartis and AstraZeneca’s agrochemical divisions. The above sales figure is from 2019, but the ongoing consolidation in the agrochemical industry means that the Syngenta Group continues to grow rapidly. In January 2020, ChemChina merged its related business with Sinochem. Syngenta Group China is the market leader in crop protection and crop nutrition materials in the People’s Republic.

8. Wanhua Chemical
Sales: 9.8 billion dollars
15,392 employees
CEO: Liao Zengtai

The Wanhua Chemical Group Co. is the world’s largest producer of MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and also the world’s largest producer of ADI. In China, Wanhua Chemical is also the market leader in TDI (toluene diisocyanate). In addition to polyurethane products, the group also produces petrochemical products such as acrylic acid and acrylic ester and related products, as well as fine chemical products such as specialty aqueous adhesives (PUD) and PA emulsions. Since Wanhua Chemical expanded its MDI business by building large-scale plants, the company’s profits have exploded. However, as the global polyurethane market has begun to weaken, expansion plans in the U.S. have been scaled back.

9. Yunnan Yuntianhua
Sales: just under 8.3 billion dollars
12,914 employees
CEO: Zhang Wenxue

This state-owned company focuses on fertilizer production. Synthetic ammonia, urea, pentaerythritol, nitramine, sodium formate, and polyformaldehyde are among the product portfolio. Various types of chemical fertilizers, including nitrogenous phosphate fertilizers such as monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate, are an essential part of the business. The production of separators for lithium batteries is also impressive against the background of the new boom in Chinese e-mobility, at least for the moment.

10. Tongkun Group
Sales: 7.7 billion dollars
15,325 employees
CEO: Chen Shiliang

The Tongkun Group Co.’s core business is chemical fiber production. Somewhere, the group acquired the nickname ‘Walmart of polyester textile filaments’. With their production, they are number one in the world. But the Tongkun Group has also skillfully invested in various facilities throughout the textile industry value chain, from refining and PTA to polyester spinning and texturing. The Group has just invested around 7.8 billion dollars in new production facilities in Qinzhou in China’s southwestern province of Guangxi, where 600,000 tons of styrene, 2.8 million tons of aromatics, and five million tons of PTA will be produced per year in the future. A new project of the busy Chinese chemical company is also being built in Shuyang, Jiangsu Province.

* * H. Bork is Managing Director at Asia Waypoint. A. Rais is a freelance editor at PROCESS Worldwide. Contact: ahlam.rais@vogel.com

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