Best prospects for the natural stone sector in China: the government aims to increase private consumption of high-quality and environmentally friendly products

Xiamen Stone Fair 2014: booth of UMGG company.

Guidelines are the turn to quality and to a “green“ consumption as well as the strengthening of the domestic market in general

China’s citizens are to consume more in the future, and “green“ guidelines are to be determinant for the world of products, i.e., less release of CO2 and less consumption of resources. These objectives are the central elements in the current Five-Year Plan of the People’s Republic for the years 2022 to 2025 and also in the strategy for 2022 to 2035, adopted in December 2022 at the People’s Congress by the Central Committee of the Party and by the State Council.

The country’s stone industry has already recognized its opportunities in this environment. The national association CSMA (China Stone Material Association), which incidentally represents not only natural stone companies but also those with artificial stone and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, had already touted “stone (as) the best material for green consumption“ in a construction magazine before the resolutions, alluding in particular to high-quality housing.

We will briefly outline below the various aspects of the new government policy with reference to the natural stone sector, but before we do, we would like to mention some unusual details in the government documents on the new consumption. They are linked in Chinese below. The details occur only in the margin; however, we find them extremely worth mentioning:
* announced is the ““implementation of a tax and duty policy to promote the development of foreign trade“ – this could indicate that the previous import duties on final products (8% – 15%) are under scrutiny;
* a “green lifestyle that is frugal and intensive“ is outlined; the guiding principle is to be “saving is honorable, wasting is shameful;“
* shall also come to a “continuous action against counterfeit and substandard products.“

Xiamen Stone Fair 2015: Standgestaltung der Firma Huabao Stone.

In summary, at one point the documents state, “China’s economy is moving from a period of high-speed growth to one of high-quality development.“

And “In the face of the complex and difficult external environment, we must resolutely implement the strategy of expanding domestic demand and effectively counter external risks with our own stable development.“

Finally: a “better satisfaction of the demand for consumer goods in the medium to high-end segment“ is targeted, and this brings us back to the topic of natural stone for the home.

The stone association had already given figures on this in the above-mentioned article in the magazine “China Building Materials News“: “Our country currently has a housing stock of 30 to 40 billion sqm; if one estimates modernization every 15 years, there is an annual demand for second or third renovations of 2 to 2.6 billion sqm.“

Xiamen Stone Fair 2017: wall tiles by Dongcheng Stone.

The association also writes that some companies have already turned entirely to private demand for home decoration, citing Chengdu Stone Box, Hangzhou Cinnamon, New Height, Wenzhou Pushi and Zhengzhou Stone Story as examples. For the market leaders Gaoshi Group, Global Stone and Wanli Stone, sales to private individuals for their own homes and condominiums also account for a large share of turnover.

The article also emphasizes that suppliers for business with private customers absolutely have to ensure “more quality in the services.“ In other words, even in China it is known that expensive stone cannot merely be sold but must also provide qualified craftsmen for installation and maintenance as well as care.

The association has therefore already worked out standards, as they are also known in the West, and is making efforts to qualify the company employees.

In China, as elsewhere, there is a shortage of qualified stonemasons and installers. In the government documents in the education section, one reads about this as measures to “promote vocational schools and universities for applied studies, and build practical training centers, create a number of high-level vocational schools.“ This could mean that the state wants to create the framework for the provision of qualified personnel.

Under the same heading, there is talk of “promoting the high-quality development of the manufacturing sector.“

Overall, the government documents touch on all areas of life. It goes from health care to agriculture and energy to transportation and traffic. Far-reaching measures are announced everywhere, for example for construction: “Building international and regional hub airports, regional airports and multi-purpose airports, and world-class airport clusters in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Chengdu-Chongqing.“

Xiamen Stone Fair 2017: booth design of Huabao Stone with artificial stone.

Protection of cultural assets is also an issue: “Renovation of a number of large old neighborhoods and renovation of a number of urban villages according to local conditions.“

Note: Peter Becker of Stone-Ideas.com will give a lecture at the Xiamen Fair (June 05 – 08, 2023) on how companies and associations in the West are directing consumer interest to natural stone.

Government documents (Chinese 1, 2)

China Building Materials News (Chinese)

See also:

(15.05.2023, USA: 05.15.2023)