China - Die & mould sector entering golden growth era

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Die & Mould China 2008 with the largest scale in Asia and the second largest scale in the world was closed in Shanghai recently. Reporters got to know that the total production volume for dies and moulds has ranked third globally, starting to transform from an import country for dies and moulds to an export country for those with the ratio of import volume to export volume increased from 1: 0.06 in 1995 to 1: 0.688 in 2007.

The growth rate in die and mould industry has been 20 percent annually since the year of 2000. During the period of the Eleventh Five-year Plan Period, both the production volume and sales volume showed boosted, enhancement was embodied in terms of the production volume, quality and level, especially the development both in auto industry and IT industry had driven the grade elevation of dies and moulds, and the excellent die and mould manufacture equipments guaranteed the upgrade of the technologies in terms of dies and moulds. Cao Yan'an, Vice Chairman and Secretary-general of China Die & Mould Industry Association, expressed that China's die and mould industry was undergoing a "golden development stage" and a sustainable and fast development would be kept for a long time in the future.

It is understood that there are more than 30,000 enterprises involved in die and mould manufacture with some 1 million employees. In 2007, the turnover reached RMB87 billion yuan, the export volume RMB1.4 billion yuan, and the provinces and the municipal city with highest export volume were Guang Dong, Zhe Jiang, Jiang Su and Shang Hai.

In recent years, the structural adjustment for the products in the die and mould industry has been expedited, and the development rate for such dies and moulds with a relatively high technical content represented by such exact, sophisticated ones with a large scale and a long life-span was beyond the overall development rate in such an industry, occupying around 35 percent in the gross die and mould output. In 2007, the growth altitude for exported die and mould products was 35.73 percent, decreasing further in terms of the adverse balance of trade and tending to rational in terms of the export and import structure for die and mould products, and the domestic die and mould products have been successfully instead of the imported ones.

In allusion to the industrial structure, the private enterprises have been developed fast, the vigor of state-owned enterprises has been reinforced, the quantity and capability of specialty die and mould manufactures orienting to the market have been enhanced faster, the centralized parks for die and mould production which are adopting to the production character in die and mould industry have been developed, and a rather great progress has been realized in such mid and west areas of China with weak strength in the die and mould industry.

The precision of multi-position progressive die of some die and mould enterprises has reached 2 microns with the life-span of more than 300 million punching times, and the multi-position progressive die of some very few enterprises can be utilized in such a high-speed punch with 2,500 times per minute, and the precision of it can arrived at 1 micron. Large-scale plastic moulds can been developed, such as the ones for 43-inch color TVs with wide screen and 65-inch rear projection TVs, the whole set of washing machines with a large capacity of 10 kilograms, vehicle bumpers, and integral instrument boards.

Exact plastic moulds have been able to produce such plastic moulds for cameras and mobile phones, small modulus gear moulds with multi-type antrums and 7,800-antrum encapsulating moulds with the precision as exact as 5 microns. Such large-scale exact and sophisticated die casting moulds have been able to produce the die casting moulds for the integrated pedals of escalators, the front transaxle and gearcase of vehicles, and the casting moulds for the motor shell of vehicles.

The coverage moulds for autos have been able to produce the whole set outside coverage moulds for mid-grade new-type autos. A fairly high level has been reached in such moulds as segmented radial tire moulds, extrusion moulds for aluminum alloy and plastic windows and precision casting or resin fast stretch moulds.

Viewing from the overall situation, China is only a big country in the die and mould production but not a power, and the quality of such products made by China is also lagged behind the one by developed countries for ten to fifteen years. For the moment, mid-and-low grades are still given priority to and the self-rationing rate for mid-and-high grade moulds only takes up about 60 percent. Lots of high-grade exact and sophisticated moulds still depend on importation with the import volume of over US$2 billion annually in recent 3 years. The commercialized rate for moulds is only around 60 percent and the coverage rate on the utilization of standard pieces is only around 50 percent. The input for scientific research is seriously lacked of, the R&D strength is weak and a public technology supporting system propitious to innovation has not been shaped yet.

Research and development must be reinforced, innovation must be taken as a basis and the industrial economic operation quality must be elevated to narrow the gap. At present, China's die and mould industry is entering an important development period. The development of the manufacture industry, especially the one of the auto manufacture industry, urges a nonstop expansion of domestic die and mould market, so the quantity of the die and mould products purchased by the overseas users grows increasingly and the trend that international die and mould manufacture moves to China step by step is quite obvious. China Die & Mould Industry Association forecasted that the die and mould market inside and outside China would keep positive development and the annual growth rate of China's die and mould industry would still remain around 20 percent.

Moreover, China Die & Mould Industry Association believed that with the sustainable and fast development of China's die and mould industry in recent years, some characters were shown as follows: products would be developed towards such an orientation representing a larger scale, more exact, more sophisticated, more economic and faster, the technological content would be enhanced increasingly, the manufacture cycle would be shortened continuously, the die and mould production would go on being developed towards industrialization, digital, fine, high-speed and automation, and enterprises would enhance the integrated strength and core competitive competency in each aspect further.