Blue skies ahead for leading chemical firm
A major Chinese chemical company will increase production of indigo dye to cope with rising demand as it expands its export base.
Taixing Taifeng Chemical Co Ltd is the world’s leading producer of indigo, a deep blue dye used in the production of denim jeans for brands such as Levi Strauss & Co and Lee.
With a manufacturing center in Alxa in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the company’s annual output is more than 30,000 metric tons of indigo products. That translates into 60 percent of the global market.
But the group is now planning to increase annual production to 42,000 tons.
“We are keen to expand further because we have the advantage of resources (such as metallic sodium, a main material for making indigo products),” said Zhang Sheyuan, a government official at the Alxa Economic Development Area, where Taixing Taifeng is based.
The economic development zone has an annual output of 45,000 tons of metallic sodium with a worldwide market share of 43 percent, Zhang pointed out.
The region has also attracted various chemical companies, including Taixing Taifeng’s key suppliers.
“That’s why Taifeng, which has its headquarters in Jiangsu province, decided to move here more than a decade ago,” Zhang said.
Founded in 2006, the company is a subsidiary of chemical conglomerate Jiangsu Taifeng Chemical Co Ltd in East China’s Jiangsu province, and employs 500 staff with total assets of 960 million yuan ($141 million).
“We like having high-tech chemical companies here as they add more value to our material advantages,” Zhang said, adding that Alxa is now a leading area for the chemical industry.
Many of the Taixing Taifeng’s products are exported to more than 30 countries and regions, including South Africa, Pakistan and the European Union, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Last year, the company exported 12,511 tons of indigo, accounting for about 40 percent of its total output, with labels Levi’s and Lee being major clients. In the first half of 2017, indigo exports reached 6,640 tons, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same period of last year. Output for 2017 is expected to hit 35,000 tons with a value of 1 billion yuan.
Samples are tested during the production of indigo at Taixing Taifeng Chemical Co Ltd in Alxa, Inner Mongolia.