Industrial Chemical Manufacturing Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Industrial Chemical Manufacturing Industry Profile

Companies in this industry manufacture chemicals, which are usually separate chemical elements or separate chemically-defined compounds, using basic processes, such as thermal crackling and distillation. Major companies include BASF (Germany), Dow (US), Formosa Petrochemical Corporation (Taiwan), Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Japan), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), Shell (the Netherlands), Sinopec Group (China), and TOTAL (France).

The global industrial chemical manufacturing industry generated about $4 trillion in annual revenue in 2019. China, the US, Japan, and Germany produce the most chemicals and are among the largest importers of chemicals. Countries in Asia and the Middle East are being targeted for industry growth.

The US industrial chemical manufacturing industry includes about 2,500 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $220 billion. Key growth drivers include output in major end-use markets such as automotive manufacturing and construction.


Demand depends on the overall strength of the economy, because most industrial chemicals are used in the manufacture of more-complicated products like fibers, plastics, paints, and paper. The profitability of individual companies is closely linked to efficient operations, because most products are commodities. Big producers have large economies of scale in production, which is why some chemicals are made by just a handful of companies. Small companies can compete effectively by making specialized or highly-purified products.

The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 70% of revenue. Specific market segments are ...

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