Two Covestro employees inspect equipment at an integrated site in Shanghai in February 2020. [Provided to]

With China pursuing more sustainable growth goals for the country’s drive toward modernization, Covestro AG, the German manufacturer of high-tech polymers, pledged to deploy more resources and introduce its latest products in this market during the nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), a senior executive said.

As one of the most important markets for Covestro, China has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic in an exceptional manner, said Michael Friede, global head of the company’s coatings, adhesives and specialties segment.

“We have seen the quick recovery of the Chinese economy and the many industries that we serve. In our segment, the Chinese market has remained largely positive in the second half”, he said, adding the country’s coastal windmill operations, 5G-related infrastructure and equipment, train and electronics manufacturing businesses will all have surging demand for its products.

For instance, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the country’s largest rolling stock manufacturer by sales revenue, plans to manufacture more high-speed freight trains and 30,000-metric-ton heavy-duty trains, as well as new special trains for standardized containerized freight and cold chain logistics freight transportation, to be the next growth point for the nation’s railway transport equipment sector.

The country also aims to raise its global competitiveness in the railway sector by expanding its railway networks with wider coverage and higher speeds. It plans to have 200,000 km of track laid by the end of 2035, including about 70,000 km of high-speed track, according to the latest national railway plan, issued in August by China State Railway Group, the country’s top railroad operator.

Since the company found that many industries have taken measures to respond to the government’s plan to go to zero CO2 emissions by 2060, Friede said this trend has created a bigger market for both sustainable coating products and solutions.

“The other areas that we have seen also speeding up are in the home and furniture segment; the need for people to have healthy environments in their house has further diversified,” he added.

In addition to expanding its innovative activities in China, Friede said the Leverkusen-headquartered company also plans to ship more products made from its plants in China to other markets, especially in their automotive, construction, furniture and electronics sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, as the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement on Nov 15 will benefit global companies running a large number of manufacturing and service facilities in China.

Chinese companies have already taken a greener and more sustainable path to growth, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for better healthcare awareness and cleaner surroundings, said Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Beijing-based Institute of Industrial Economics, which is a part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

With sales of 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in 2019, Covestro’s business covers areas such as automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries, as well as other sectors that include sports and leisure, cosmetics and healthcare. It has 30 manufacturing sites globally and employed 17,200 people by the end of 2019.

Supported by more than 3,000 employees, including more than 200 researchers in China, Covestro’s sales totaled 2.5 billion euros in the country last year, accounting for about 20 percent of its global total.