Japans third-largest steelmaker has teamed with
Chinas sixth-largest steel producer to tap into a
projected surge in demand for cold-rolled high-strength steel
driven by the anticipated high-gear growth of Chinas
Tokyo-based Kobe Steel
Ltd. and Angang Steel Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of state-owned
Anshan Iron & Steel Group Corp., signed a joint-venture
agreement Oct. 17 to establish Kobelco Angang Auto Steel Co.
Ltd., a China-based joint venture that will produce and sell
advanced cold-rolled high-strength steel sheet for automotive
Plans call for the
construction of a 28.9-billion-yen ($295-million), 600,000
tonne-per-year continuous annealing line within Angangs
steel works. Production of cold-rolled high-strength steel with
a tensile strength of 590 megapascals or higher is expected to
begin in early 2016, with Angang supplying the required
hot-rolled substrate to feed the new joint venture.
"The joint venture
will market to essentially all automakers in
ChinaJapanese, European, American, Chinese, etc.," a Kobe
spokesman told AMM. "The product is for the Chinese
market. There are no plans to supply other markets."
China is the
worlds largest automobile market, according to the
Japanese steelmaker, sharing the rationale behind the move. Car
production there is expected to increase roughly 50 percent
over the next 10 years, the company added.
Kobelco Angang Auto
Steel, in which Angang holds a 51-percent interest and Kobe
Steel expected to hold the remaining 49-percent share through
Kobelco (China) Holding Co. Ltd., will be based at
Angangs steel works, Anshan Base in Anshan, Liaoning
investment in China and that countrys auto market is the
latest in a series of strategic initiatives undertaken by the
Japanese steel industry, which after decades of deflation and
economic stagnation has been energized by the fiscal policies
of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japans steel
industrynewly remade through the megamerger of Japanese
steelmakers Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries
Ltd. (now Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.), refocused
on the emerging markets of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations region and always resilienthas pivoted to the
East in search of growth.
An AMM special report,
A New Dawn for Japanese Steel, gives a closer look at
the strategies, players, challenges and competition of the new
Japanese steel industry.