Sales of flat glass in China will be stimulated by growth in building construction expenditures, advances in the production of motor vehicles and solar panels, and increasing income levels.
Demand for flat glass in China is forecast to rise 8.2 percent per year through 2016 to 3.4 billion square meters. Sales of flat glass will be driven by growth in building construction expenditures and advances in motor vehicle and solar panel production. In value terms, flat glass demand is forecast to increase 13.9 percent per year to \250 billion in 2016. Ongoing industrialization, rising income levels, and further population and household growth will benefit flat glass sales.
Two major trends are expected to affect the flat glass industry over the next 10 years. First, demand for float glass is forecast to increase at the expense of demand for lower quality sheet glass. Second, demand for fabricated flat glass products is forecast to continue to rise as they are more often favored over unfabricated products in building applications and as rapid growth is expected in fabricated glass markets such as solar energy and electronic displays. By 2021, fabricated flat glass will record nearly half of total flat glass demand in China.
Unfabricated float glass will remain the largest product category through 2016, with demand rising 6.6 percent yearly to 1.5 billion square meters. Advances will be spurred by healthy growth in building construction activity, especially in rural areas, and relatively low product prices.
Demand for safety glass will advance nearly 15 percent annually through 2016, as demand benefits from rising income levels and growth in new construction, as well as from greater output of motor vehicles, solar panels, and furniture. Demand for insulating glass is forecast to grow 15.5 percent annually through 2016, boosted by growth in construction of residential and commercial buildings, schools, and hospitals, which use vast amounts of flat glass in their designs.
The architectural market accounted for just under four-fifths of flat glass demand in 2011. Advances for flat glass in the architectural market will be bolstered by rising income levels, further urbanization, and government efforts to improve living conditions for low-income earners. The solar panel market is forecast to see the fastest gains through 2016. Sales will be driven by strong increases in production of solar panels. The electronic display market will see the next fastest growth, with demand being lifted by expanding output of electronic goods in China, the presence of new glass-using products, and heightened personal income levels.