Chemical giants open billion dollar silicone complex in China

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

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Dow Corning and Wacker have joined forces to open silicone manufacturing facilities in China at the cost of around $1.2bn.

Covering one million square meters in Zhangjiagang City, the site will produce materials used exclusively in construction, beauty and personal care, power and automotives.

The new production plant should have a combined capacity for siloxane and pyrogenic silica of around 200,000 metric tons per year when it reaches full operational capacity towards the end of 2010.

Full range of silicone products

As well as producing basic materials, the plants which will be operating jointly by Dow Corning and Wacker, will manufacture finished silicone products.

The decision to establish such a large silicone production complex in China was motivated by the increased demand for silicones in the country.

“Throughout China and in many other parts of Asia, we see more and more manufacturers wanting to use silicones to help them improve the performance of their own products,”​ said Dr Stephanie Burns, CEO of Dow Corning.

“Our investment in this site significantly enhances our ability to meet that need and to help spur the growth of many key industries in the region.”

Demand for silicones in personal care

Silicones have a variety of uses in personal care applications. They add a silky smooth feel to formulations but have other functions including wetting and spreading qualities that ensure smooth and even application.

According to a study published earlier this year by the Centre Européen des Silicones (CES) on the socio-economic contribution of the silicone industry, total sales in Europe to cosmetic manufacturers amounted to €100m in 2006.

Silicones also boast significant added value in personal care and that the financial value of silicones in finished products is as high as €1000m, added the report.

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