Sprucing up

Chinese paper industry in for a makeover

Published: Wednesday 31 March 2004

china is refurbishing its papermaking units by building a complete industrial chain with the forestry sector. The Chinese government has approved a national plan that envisages undertaking activities like forestation in new areas, setting up new mills and upgrading existing mills. The country is inviting foreign investment to the tune of us $24 billion over a decade to give a fillip to the industry.

According to Liu Tienan of China's National Development and Reform Commission, the move will help to meet the growing demand for paper in the country and ease the industry's pressure on the environment. The per capita consumption of paper in China was 30 kilogrammes (kg) in 2000 and is expected to grow to 51 kg by 2015. Due to the limited availability of wood from forests, the country's paper industry currently uses straw as its primary raw material.

Now, five million hectares of fast-growing trees will be planted in China's southeastern coastal areas. Three to four wood pulp mills, with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tonnes or more, would also be established in the region. A large number of primarily wood-based papermaking units would be set up near forestation areas.

Bamboo pulp mills with an annual capacity of 100,000-500,000 tonnes will come up in southwest China. The existing paper units in the country's north and northeast would be upgraded, but small papermaking factories would be closed down.

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