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The objective of this report is to provide an overview of the Chinese market for wastewater treatment, with a focus on some key emerging tier two city markets beyond already established tier one cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
According to the report, China continues to face severe water pollution and water scarcity problems. It generated 57.2 billion tons of wastewater in 2008; municipal wastewater and industrial wastewater account for 58% and 42% respectively. It is expected that total wastewater will continue growing due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, reaching 79 billion tons by 2015. The current wastewater treatment infrastructure is still inadequate (although many wastewater treatment plants operate under capacity) and there will be continued construction of new facilities and upgrading of existing ones, resulting in a large demand for investment. However, competition for projects is fierce from foreign companies that can provide advanced technology and management, as well as from domestic players, which typically can offer more competitive prices and in some cases comparable technology.
China has recently stepped up its efforts to improve the regulatory framework for modern wastewater management, especially in the last decade. A range of regulatory and economic instruments are used, such as user charges for water services, however, local enforcement remains weak in many regions with low collection rates on water tariffs. The 11th Five-Year Plan (2006 to 2010) emphasizes the concepts of constructing a water-saving society and treating water pollution, and this trend is expected to continue into the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011 to 2015). China also has stipulated relevant policies to encourage private and foreign investment in wastewater treatment facilities.
Best prospects closely follow government directions and the areas of planned investment in wastewater treatment facilities, said the report. In general, equipment with advanced technology that domestic companies are not able to provide is most needed. In the eight emerging markets analyzed in this report—Tianjin, Dalian, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Chongqing and Wuhan—a key trend is a strong focus on developing biological treatment process with nitrogen and phosphorus removal technologies, creating potential opportunities for foreign companies. All the cities are also moving towards greater use of separation, membrane and disinfection technology and equipment, and the needs for sludge treatment equipment and water reclamation technologies are expected to increase. Although different technologies have been applied in different wastewater treatment plants, good prospects are for the sequencing batch reactor activated sludge process and biological aeration filter process. Physical-chemical and biological processes are widely used to treat industrial wastewater in all cities, including sedimentation, filtration, anaerobic and aerobic activated sludge, which also provide potential opportunities for foreign equipment suppliers.
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