China is the largest exporter of vitamins and API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) in the world. According to 2017 data by China Customs the country exported almost 250 thousand tons of vitamins and account for about 90% of the US vitamin market. Along with domestic manufacturers, the country is home to many international enterprises that manufacturer vitamins locally and then export it to other parts of the world. One such international player operating in China is DSM Royal which started trading in China in 1963 and established its manufacturing facility in the early 1990s.
Today, the company has 39 affiliates and 21 manufacturing sites in China and is active across almost its entire portfolio of Life science and Material Sciences in China. In 2015, the company acquired the Jiangshan vitamin c site from Aland and spent two years to upgrade the plant, automated the production to drive up the quality, improved worker safety, and wastewater treatment facilities.
Since then the company shut down the production site every year in summer for up-gradation. The noise improvement initiative was launched in 2016 and reduced the production noise from 67 decibels to below 55 decibels. In 2017, the wastewater treatment improvement operation was implemented to make the COD concentration of the discharged wastewater less than 50mg/L, reaching the urban sewage discharge standard. The production line was last shut down on July 2018 for four months and upgraded biogas boiler for efficient energy recovery, this step not just helped the company in complying with the new environmental regulations imposed by the Chinese government but also reduced the GHG ( greenhouse gas) emission by 15%. In the three years from 2016 to 2018, the cumulative investment was nearly 800 million yuan (USD112.86 million) for production suspension for upgrading.
But this year DSM has extended its annual summer shut down period to implement the next series of upgrades in the area of quality, safety, and sustainability. The company is planning to switch the Jiangshan plant to natural gas power instead of coal to reduce the carbon footprints of the plant by 50%.
Industry experts fear that prolonged shutdown might affect the supply of vitamin c in the market but according to De-Graaf-Groenendijk “the supply of vitamin c will not be disrupted as this is a scheduled stop and we have assured the security of supply of vitamin c to our contacted customers. Furthermore, the company is committed to making future investments into sustainability initiatives across its global production network.
Upgraded and environment friendly vitamin production lines across the country will not only reduce the risk of closure by the government authorities but will also boost the confidence of international consumer on Chinese label.
For more information about China’s vitamin market, please have a look at our monthly newsletter Vitamins China E-News.