BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- China's chemical sector is undergoing an upgrading and expected to expand steadily to be a pillar industry as the country pushes ahead with a green transition, according to global advanced materials and specialty chemicals giant Solvay.
"China is the most promising market for us, and the chemical industry is developing fast with emerging opportunities," Leo Sun, president with Solvay Greater China told Xinhua.
The country's chemical sector is moving up the industrial value chain, shifting from hazardous, low-end and pollutive products to safe, high-end and green ones, Sun said.
The Belgium-based company managed to achieve sales of 12.8 billion yuan (1.91 billion U.S. dollars) in China in 2018, a steady growth in line with previous years despite a challenging macro environment.
Advanced material is one major market for Solvay China presence, as the country plans to develop large passenger planes such as the C919, which will boost market demand for composite and other materials.
The shift towards new energy vehicles (NEVs) is another opportunity that Solvay is seizing by investing in lightweight materials and battery materials, according to Sun.
Some 298,900 NEVs were sold in China in the first quarter of 2019, up 109.7 percent from the same period in 2018, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
China is also seeing surging demand for electronic chemicals used for cleaning and etching large-scale integrated circuits, LCD and semiconductors due to the rapid growth of the electronic industry.
Solvay has been in the Chinese market for about 40 years with 12 production bases nationwide and one research and innovation (R&I) center in Shanghai, its third largest research center across the world.
Solvay Ventures announced last week that it has invested in Chinese venture capital fund Longwater Advanced Materials Fund in a move to help Solvay China R&I center build new partnerships with local startups to undertake open innovation projects and support Solvay's long-term sustainable growth in China.
"China is a core market of our growth, and the business environment has improved a lot. We will continue to invest and innovate here," Sun said.