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Focus on quality not dented by trade tensions

An employee operates a steel processor at a steel plant in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province. [Photo by Wei Liang / China News Service]

Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group Co Ltd is improving its product quality and variety through supply-side reform and intensive innovation, to face up to rising pressure from China-United States trade tensions and global trade protectionism.

The steelmaker’s share in its traditional markets remains high, and it is rapidly entering new markets, transitioning up toward the medium-to-high end of the value chain, according to the company.

Taiyuan Iron and Steel exports very few of its products to the US and so is not affected by the ongoing trade friction, said Wang Fasheng, director of the company’s publicity department.

“We have been making the most of demand in the Belt and Road Initiative-related countries and regions, in addition to developing new products, which is strengthening our exports,” said Wang.

From January to June, the number of new products the company developed grew by 18.2 percent year-on-year. New stainless steel products were up 40 percent. Steel exports increased 10.76 percent year-on-year and stainless steel exports increased by 5.47 percent.

“We are now the world’s only steel-maker that can mass produce a special type of stainless steel foil that is just 0.02 millimeters thick, but can be as wide as 600 mm,” said Liao Xi, a quality control manager with the company.

Earlier in August, the company exported a number of high-strength steel products to US conglomerate GE. They will be used in the construction of a hydroelectric power project in India.

In Pengerang, Malaysia, the state oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Berhad, known as Petronas, is developing a refinery and petrochemical integrated development project. The high-end stainless steel used to build the project’s gigantic low-temperature chemicals storage tanks are all from Taiyuan Iron& Steel.

The project also underlines the Chinese steel giant’s strategy to capitalize on demand in BRI-related countries and regions. It focuses on all-round services, from product design to technology support.

The company has gathered a special team to tailor packaged solutions, involving customized specifications, material processing and delivery for the project, said Zhang Teng, who is in charge of the company’s international marketing.

In the first half of this year, the company exported a record-high 2,500 metric tons of coinage steel to BRI markets such as Malaysia, Poland and Brazil.

It exported high-quality pure iron to Cote d’Ivoire, to make grounding conductors used in the country’s high-voltage power grid upgrade.

It has also successfully developed high-quality nickel-based alloy products and exported the products to Europe.

Taiyuan Iron & Steel has made myriad breakthroughs to upgrade and customize its products to meet various high-end market demands, just as many other Chinese steel companies do when facing dissimilar external conditions, said Xu Xiangchun, information director with iron and steel industry consultancy Mysteel.com.

The increase in the company’s exports this year despite China-US trade tensions demonstrates how it is gaining customers through high product and service quality, not cheap prices, he said.

By Liu Zhihua in Beijing and Sun Ruisheng in Taiyuan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-01 10:07

From: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201809/01/WS5b89f473a310add14f388fe9.html

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