Rubber consumption will see its first annual increase in five years, according to a forecast by the Japan Rubber Manufacturers Association (JRMA). The combined total consumption volume of natural and synthetic rubber in 2016 is expected to amount to 1.3414 million tons, up 0.8 percent from the previous year. See a breakdown of the figures by major product category below.
Sumitomo Riko Co. Ltd. has concluded an exclusive distributor agreement with Hydroscand AB, a Swedish seller of high-pressure hoses based in Stockholm. The move will enable Sumitomo Riko to expand sales of high-pressure hoses in 43 countries in Europe and elsewhere. This marks the company's first full entry into the industrial hose business's European market.
Nitta Corp. has launched sales of Linemate LB70, a new series of ultra-flexible resin hose products with applications in hydraulic piping for machine tools and machining work. The new hoses are 15-25 percent more flexible than existing products and also have a major weight advantage.
The automobile market in Japan is going through a difficult period, said Yujiro Kanahara, president of Nippon Goodyear Ltd., speaking recently to Japan Rubber Weekly. This is particularly true in the tire sector, where Nippon Goodyear faces a number of strong rivals and where market growth is limited, Kanahara said. Still, he believes there are opportunities for growth.
Guangzhou Fengli Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., southern China's biggest manufacturer of radial tires and owner of Wanli Tire, has decided to enter the Japanese market. This will provide a foothold for its global expansion strategy, thus ensuring a prime base from which to expand elsewhere overseas.
Trading Companies Part 2—Although many trading firms focus on domestic demand, a generational change has been under way recently, resulting in an increase in younger managers. Merchants of this new generation have begun setting their sights not just within the country but overseas as well. They are also eager to explore new markets and develop new technologies and products.