Home Magazine Editor's Focus--A Remarkable Journey

Editor's Focus--A Remarkable Journey

Departments - Scrap Industry News

Jim Keefe July 13, 2006

It’s increasingly difficult to find a recycler who has not shipped a load of material to China. Whether it’s ferrous or nonferrous metal or paper and plastic, Chinese buyers are some of the most active in the market. Even if you are one of the few who has not yet made such a shipment, China’s tremendous thirst for raw materials affects your markets.

As the leading business magazine covering the world’s recycling industry, we take the responsibility of providing our readers with insightful and reliable market information and analysis seriously. As a result, several of us have traveled to China during the past year or so. To gain a more complete picture, however, we wanted to craft an experience that would expose us to all aspects of the industry. Brian Taylor and I have just returned from a 14-day trip through China that we believe did just that.

Our trip began in Beijing, where we attended the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) Spring World Recycling Conference. From there we visited Shanghai and the Yangtze River market region. Our journey next took us to Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta before concluding in Hong Kong. We toured a vast array of facilities, from local recovery operations to ingot makers to scrap importers to paper mills. What we saw was fascinating, and much of it you’ll read about throughout the coming months. We’ll begin that coverage this month with a profile of Shanghai Sigma Metals and the showcase facility Tony Huang has built there.

We had the unique opportunity to meet with buyers and brokers in the recycling business, as well as with business people from other industries. Conversations pointed to a culture and economy interested in growth, but also in environmental concerns and copyright protections.

We found the Chinese to be wonderful and gracious hosts. We were welcomed into many businesses of varying sizes and scopes and we also experienced world-class service and hospitality everywhere we went. Sure, it was nerve racking at times and the language barrier is tremendous, but with proper planning you can get around that.

Stay tuned to the pages of Recycling Today in the coming months. We’ll provide valuable insight on this developing economy and market as well as introduce opportunities for those most interested in China.

I’d like to thank the businesses that opened their doors to us and helped us in planning the trip: Lee & Man Paper, Shanghai Sigma Metals, Tung Tai Group, Global Metals Co., Weyerhaeuser, Nine Dragons Paper, Fook Woo Group and several others (who prefer to remain anonymous).

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