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Tanker exporting Japan-made cement and related products, which are highly reputed for their good quality
Sumitomo Corporation has also been proactively expanding its cement business overseas. Japan-made cement and related products are globally reputed for their high quality and the Company has steadily increased exports. Our overseas customer list in this field has extended to include countries half way around the world, specifically Nigeria and Brazil, in addition to Singapore, Hong Kong and others in geographically closer regions.
China, among others, is an important market in the overseas expansion of Sumitomo Corporation's cement business. In the 1990s, as part of some major projects launched in the country amid the rapidly growing economy, we established a plant in Dongguan City to process intermediate material, known as clinker, to manufacture finished cement products. Since then the plant, which is operated by Sumitomo Corporation, has produced and supplied a total of 5.5 million tons to the burgeoning economy of China, one of the world's largest consumers of the material, with annual concrete consumption per head exceeding 1 ton, compared to approximately 330 kg in Japan. In order to meet this massive demand, numerous cement factories have been set up in recent years and we transferred operation of the Dongguan plant to a local operator in the early 2000s. This move reflects our principal concept of developing the cement business as a vehicle to foster economic growth. Under this concept, we aim to develop cement supply channels in economies that are undergoing rapid growth, channeling the material through a global network to ensure sufficient supply before transferring the project to a local player, thereby contributing to the future development of the cement sector in the region, while seeking new opportunities in other potential growth markets.
Towers built using super strong concrete supplied by Sumitomo Corporation (Higashi Ikebukuro 4-chome redevelopment area in Tokyo)
Sumitomo Corporation's future plans for the cement business focus on Southeast Asia, where we hold extensive trading rights and relationships fostered over years of trading activities in this region. Major economies in this region are moving into a new acceleration phase, aiming to achieve the economic level of developed countries, and increasing investment in infrastructure development. This is expected to dramatically raise demand for cement, which translates to creation of new opportunities for us to demonstrate our capabilities in the field. At the same time, we will also gear up expansion efforts in emerging markets in South America and Africa, where infrastructure-related demand is strong.
Cement technology has developed at an incredible pace in recent years. Innovative methods and materials used for cement mix have reinvented the centuries-old basic construction material into a new material with super strong properties that can support hundreds-meter high contemporary tower structures. This enhanced strength is expected to play an increasingly important role in modern society, whether that be in Japan or other countries, where concrete structures are spreading, in protecting the safety of people, particularly against earthquakes, tsunami and other such disasters. Bearing the significant function expected of this infrastructure material in mind, Sumitomo Corporation will continue its commitment to developing the cement and concrete business, always looking to contribute to the enhanced safety of society.
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