May 19, 2017
Kobe Steel, Ltd.
TOKYO, May 19, 2017 — Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) Co., Ltd. inaugurated its plant yesterday in Tianjin, China. The company, established in 2014, produces and sells automotive aluminum panel material.
Participating in the event from Kobe Steel was Chairman, President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki. Approximately 120 main customers and other guests attended the opening.
Among Japan’s rolled aluminum producers, Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) is the first production base in China for aluminum panel material. The wholly owned subsidiary of Kobe Steel has a production capacity of 100,000 tons per year. It currently has about 130 employees, which will increase to approximately 180 when the plant reaches full operation.
China is the world’s largest automobile market. Current production of approximately 28 million cars is anticipated to grow to about 33 million vehicles in 2025. Due to environmental issues, automotive emission regulations and fuel efficiency standards are expected to become stricter, and the need to reduce the weight of car bodies is increasing. As a result, demand for 50,000 tons of aluminum panel material in 2016 is expected to grow to 300,000 tons per year in 2025, forecasts Kobe Steel.
Kobe Steel has been developing aluminum panel material since the 1980s. With a competitive edge through its original alloy technology, along with expertise in advanced surface quality and processing know-how, Kobe Steel is the top supplier of aluminum panel material in the Japanese market. The launching of Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) enables Kobe Steel to supply aluminum panel material of the same high quality available in Japan to the growing Chinese market.
Kobe Steel’s Aluminum & Copper business segment has other companies that serve the automotive sector in China. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (China) Co., Ltd., established in September 2010, supplies aluminum forged suspension products. Suzhou Kobe Copper Technology Co., Ltd., formed in May 2005, supplies copper strip for automotive terminals and connectors.
Responding to the move toward lighter cars, Kobe Steel aims to expand orders by establishing a global supply structure and by strengthening the competitiveness of its advanced high-strength steel and aluminum products, noted for their outstanding balance of weight savings and cost.
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