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China to have greater say in global glass industry

Glass brings beauty to us; it is an indispensible material in our life, a senior official of the International Commission on Glass (ICG) said in an exclusive interview with China Daily. 

China is currently the world leader in float glass technology and output, and its 1,200-ton float glass production line is also the world's largest, Peng Shou, a NPC deputy and chairman of the International Commission on Glass told China Daily. Peng Shou, president of China Triumph International Engineering Co Ltd and president of Bengbu Design & Research Institute for Glass Industry, was elected chairman of ICG in June 2012, becoming the first Chinese chairman of ICG and one of the handful leaders of international organizations coming from the Asia Pacific. Having a Chinese chairman can help scientists in the global glass industry learn more about China, and China may benefit from further research, Peng said. At the same time, China may have a greater say in making the rules and setting the development mode of the industry, he added.

Float glass products made in China are popular in developing countries for its good quality and reasonable price, and it is the leading exporter to Europe, Peng told China Daily.

"We still need to import special types of glass, such as fire-proof glass, because we have been more concentrated on scale development and basic technology research in the past decades," he said.

"The major task we are facing now is to adjust the industry structure, to transform product style, and to focus on energy-saving and emission-cutting," Peng said.

Being in a high energy-consuming industry, Peng and his colleagues have been working on energy-saving technologies over the past years. Old and backward glass factories were rebuilt with advanced technologies such as oxy-fuel combustion and electricity generated by waste heat.

"Real estate control policy does have some impact on the glass industry, but our pressing problem at present is overcapacity," Peng told China Daily. "Our production line cannot stop once it is switched on. That's why our supply keeps growing even when the demand is dwindling."

"To solve this problem, we need to restructure the whole industry, combine and merge big corporations and factories. We don't need so many factories, especially those substandard and ill-developed ones.

"Secondly, we need to change our marketing style, getting closer to our clients. Currently, all of our products are sold through middlemen; we don't face our clients directly. The middlemen set wholesale prices for us. When the retail price is lower than the wholesale price, we need to compensate them, but when the retail price is way higher than the wholesale price, they won't raise the wholesale price or give us any bonus," Peng added.

The next step in China's glass industry development will be to focus on technological innovation, Peng said. His corporation recently became the sole investor of a new energy research center in New Jersey, US, which is an important way of international cooperation and will help China keep up with other countries in soft science development in the near future.

In addition, Peng has successfully won the bid to host the 2016 International Congress on Glass in Shanghai, China. The congress is an "Olympic" event of the international glass industry where glass experts can discuss glass science and technology development through publication of scientific and technical papers and conferences.

International Commission on Glass is a non-profit international glass society that was established in Venice, Italy in September 1933. The Chinese Ceramic Society was accepted by the organization in October 1982.

March 22nd, 2013

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