Importance of bleaching chemicals in global economy
Bleaching chemicals are oxidizing agents used for numerous applications such as stain removal, disinfecting textile material and water, deodorizing, effluent control etc. Bleaching chemicals finds application in sectors such as textile, pulp & paper processing, water & wastewater treatment, hospitals, laundries etc. Though bleaching chemical is an industrial products, they have gained importance in various end-user industries due to capability for wide-ranging applications. Bleaching as a process has been used for a long time, and the various chemicals used for bleaching currently have resulted from the continuous efforts put in by scientist in the 18th century. Bleaching chemicals are either chlorine or peroxide based, and some of the commonly used bleaching chemicals are chlorine, chlorine dioxide sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate etc.
Hydrogen peroxide is widely used in the cosmetic industry for various purposes like hair colouring, face bleaching etc. Chlorine-based bleaches are generally used in household cleaning materials, to keep the water in swimming pools clean and for drinking water disinfection in the water treatment industry. Hence, the growing water treatment industry is expected to catalyze growth of chlorine-based bleaching chemicals. The paper and pulp industry is amongst the largest consumers of bleaching agents. Bleaching agents makes the pulp free of impurities and suitable for paper manufacturing. Moreover, bleaching chemicals are used in the textile industry for textile treatment. Thus, growth of the pulp and paper and textile industries is anticipated to drive the demand for bleaching chemicals.
The bleaching chemicals market in Asia-Pacific is expected witness the highest growth in the near future. This is attributed to the fact that APAC countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Thailand are estimated to be the high-potential untapped markets due to extensive growth of end-user industries. Additionally, continuous economic advancement coupled with constantly increasing manufacturing sector output promises a big market for bleaching chemicals in the APAC region.
China has dominated the global textile and garment industry for the past two decades and remains the single largest producer and exporter of textiles and clothing. Moreover, with increasing land and labour costs across major developing markets such as China and India, the global textile and garment industry is expected to undergo a swing to South East Asia. Asia is a major exporter of textile and clothing to developed markets, of which emerging Asia accounts for significant contribution. Textile manufactures with production units based in China have adopted China plus one strategy. Big business houses that can afford such a strategy retain a production base in China and open another unit in a low cost Asian country. Growth in textile industry along with other prominent end use industries for bleaching chemicals will ensure healthy demand for bleaching chemicals in the APAC region.
Some of the key players operating in the bleaching chemicals market are Akzo Nobel Eka, Aditya Birla Chemicals, Kemira Oyj and Hercules and Hercules Inc. Companies focus more on research and development in order to upgrade technology and capitalize on untapped potential markets in various industries like oil and gas and mining.
Though the current market for bleaching chemicals is dominated by regions of North America and Europe, strict government regulations are expected to influence the demand for bleaching chemicals in the near future. APAC is undisputedly the fastest growing market for end-user industries of bleaching chemicals. Due to increasing awareness regarding water safety coupled with increasing household income, depleting water resources and water contamination, the water treatment industry in APAC is flourishing. Chlorine bleach is a powerful germicide and is used to disinfect drinking water in case of groundwater contamination, and hence is used in municipal water treatment units. Growth of the end-user industry is a major driver for the bleaching chemicals sector in APAC.