Driven by favourable government policies, funding and world-leading academic research, China has emerged as the leading global player in graphene and carbon nanotube (CNT) publication and patenting activity. Commercially, it has attained parity with international counterparts in CNT production, though its graphene suppliers lag global competition, according to Lux Research.
China’s domestic graphene and CNT market will also reach $ 22.4 million and $ 48.4 million, respectively, driven by the growth of the Li-ion battery market and newer applications like coatings and thermal dissipation. However, the increase in production by Chinese firms will exacerbate global oversupply, with a profound effect on global prices and margins.
“The country’s 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) from 2006 to 2010 tripled nanotech funding to RMB 5 billion, setting the stage for ferocious activity in recent years,” said Zhun Ma, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, ‘Fishing for carbon gems in a vast sea of oversupply: Assessing china's carbon nanotube and graphene landscape’.
He added, “Today, Chinese graphene and CNT players have varying prospective value as partnership candidates, based on cost and/or performance.”
As per Lux Research, with cost advantage, well-established customer networks and continuous funding support, China's two leading CNT suppliers – CNano and Timesnano – will help increase its share of global capacity from 30% to 50%.
Last November, China overtook North America in global capacity for graphene nanoplatelets, with The Sixth Element and Ningbo Morsh the leading suppliers. However, most Chinese graphene suppliers have lower technology value scores in Lux's analysis.
Chinese research organisations own the lion's share of graphene and CNT patents. Riding on world-leading academic research, China's publications and patents on graphene have surpassed those of the US. It leads global CNT publications and takes second place in CNT patent activity.