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US company Eastman aims to increase its China presence

Eastman Chemical Co, a Tennessee-based specialty materials manufacturer, is bullish about its market growth in China and plans to introduce more products in the coming years to further expand its footprint in the country, said a senior executive.

China's economic strength has continued to increase with its optimized economic structure and deepened implementation of its reform and opening-up policy. The country has made remarkable achievements in the fields of innovation and sustainability, said Gulferaz Ali, vice-president and managing director for the Asia-Pacific.

Manufacturing a broad range of products from chemicals and fibers to advanced materials, the company's sales revenue amounted to $10.6 billion in 2022, with both China and the Asia-Pacific being its key markets.

Eager to enhance its earning strength, the US company acquired Ai-Red Technology (Dalian) Co Ltd, a Liaoning-based manufacturer and supplier of paint protection and window film for auto and architectural markets in the Asia Pacific, in February. This site will align with Eastman's performance films operations.

With China entering a new era of green and innovation-led growth, Ali said this acquisition further demonstrates Eastman's willingness to further expand its production and service levels in China and the Asia-Pacific.

"In addition to providing additional capacity to serve the growing demand for our paint protection and window film products especially in China, the investment in Dalian will create additional capacity for innovation and product scaling-up from our existing operations," he said.

Supported by 14,500 employees, Eastman to date serves customers in more than 100 countries and regions. It currently runs eight plants and a technology center across China.

"China is a huge market that drives the global economy and is hence critical to all industries and multinational companies," said Ali, adding the country's thriving auto market represents a big opportunity for Eastman.

As new energy vehicles gain increasing popularity, all players in the industry need to adapt their product offerings quickly to keep up with the changing market trends. This could potentially lead to a reshaping of the entire automotive industry, he added.

China's auto industry certainly has been heading in that direction, the country shipped 994,000 vehicles to other parts of the world in the first quarter of 2023, soaring 70.6 percent year-on-year, while the exports of new-energy vehicles more than doubled to 248,000 units, data from Beijing-based China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

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