North Asia: mixed fortunes
A cooling-off in cement consumption growth is giving China, the largest cement producer in North Asia and the world, the chance to reassess its industry structure to ensure a sustainable future. For other markets in the region, a surge in construction investment means growing demand, and new entrants are queuing up for a piece of the action.
North Asian international relations have endured some difficult times in the past, and while disputes continue to flare up, things are starting to change for the better. Trilateral co-operation between the dominant states of China, Japan and South Korea is gaining momentum, and even China and North Korea are engaged in constructive dialogue. This air of co-operation is also filtering down to industry level with special economic zones between China and North Korea progressing, while trade agreements between China and Taiwan will increasingly integrate their economies.
The effects of the global economic crisis did find their way into the North Asian markets, dampening investment and contributing to the sluggish economic growth has muted cement demand in certain markets. China and Taiwan, in particular, are taking this opportunity to reassess their cement manufacturing sectors, and are putting in place measures to move the industry forward organically and sustainably. Meanwhile, in the likes of Macau and Mongolia, a surge in investment is creating opportunities for new players.