German chemical company BASF has announced the beginning of construction of its new polyethylene (PE) facility in China.

The new plant is located at BASF’s Verbund site in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province.

It is being constructed to meet the increasing demands for PE in China. The facility will have an annual PE production capacity of up to 500,000 tonnes per year.

The company said this PE production facility will start operating in 2025.

BASF Petrochemicals Asia Pacific senior vice-president Bir Darbar Mehta said: “China’s demand for PE has experienced rapid growth and is going to outpace the rest of the world.

“With the ground-breaking ceremony, BASF will enter the PE market in China via a competitive production footprint in its fully integrated production site in Zhanjiang, catering to our customers in the consumer goods, packaging, construction and transportation industries.”

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A light and versatile thermoplastic polymer, PE is manufactured from ethylene.

According to BASF, the polymer can be used for various applications such as flexible packaging and films, heavy-duty storage tanks and pipelines.

BASF Petrochemicals Asia Pacific, Basic Business Management & China Sales Management vice-president Bejoy Chandran said: “Strategically located close to our customers, Zhanjiang Verbund site is fully backward-integrated to provide them with high quality and reliable PE products for a wide range of durable applications, including pipes, speciality films and blow-moulded parts for household and industrial chemical containers, especially in the South China market.”

BASF operates two Verbund sites, one in Malaysia’s Kuantan and the other in Nanjing, China.

In November 2019, the company launched the Verbund project in Zhanjiang as part of a $10bn investment project to address the fast-growing demands of the Asia Pacific market.

In June 2020, BASF announced plans to expand its dispersion portfolio at the Huizhou facility in South China.