Well, not the greatest start to a new decade of course as we sit again on the brink of an “Asian medical crisis” (the popular media’s way of looking at things) that is becoming a “global medical emergency”. Of course, it is tragic that already several hundred people have died from the dreaded “Corona” virus…but with global influenza deaths usually of the order of up to 500,000 every year, perhaps we shouldn’t quite hit the panic button just yet.

However, with China’s place so critical in the global supply chain, any change of situation in the People’s Republic sends tremors throughout companies from Hong Kong to San Francisco, and all places in between. With factories returning after the (extended) Lunar New Year break as AG goes to press, it has been noticeable that many firms are expecting just 20% or so of employees to make it back to work, with many factories holding off re-starting production and manufacture until the end of the month instead. For some companies in glass – especially those that depend on China’s increasing dominance of the markets of ultrathin glass – this is problematic. Order books, filled to the brim are suddenly all going to be delayed. Instead, those that were far-sighted enough to support growing production bases in the likes of Vietnam, Indonesia and India are going to be well-placed to slip into some of these overdue product situations and fulfil orders that might otherwise go astray. Where there is an issue for one, there is opportunity for another.

For some companies – and goverments in fact – such a biological intervention, however, relatively minor (and I really stress that people should look at the FACTS not the hyperbole surrounding this virus) is heaven-sent. A chance to kick a combatant whilst its already weakened and struggling under onerous dumping duties and tariffs. The Chinese authorities are supremely aware of the potential here for the country to be rapidly usurped by an eager pack of surrounding nations, many of whom had industries suffer because of China in the past and are now in the position to turn the tables.

Will this go on for too long? We hope not. The “I can’t possibly go to China” approach of many European (in particular) companies borders on the ridiculous with the flames fanned by our 24 hour exaggerative media. This could indeed be the best time to strike the deals with the country; with partners eager to maintain trading and indeed not be pillioried for simply being “Chinese”.

Remember everyone; the sun will set and rise tonight and tomorrow; the world will keep spinning; the mountains will keep inching higher…and China is still going to be there with its manufacturing might at the end of this. Rather than victimise it, is this not the time to stand up, be counted and lend it some support?

Happy reading!

Inside the current issue

News, views, raw materials, comment and much, much more!

See us at:

Eurasia Glass Fair

Istanbul, Turkey| 4-7 March 2020

China Glass

Beijing, China | POSTPONED

Mir Stekla

Moscow, Russia | 8-11 June 2020

Glassman Asia 2020

Seoul, South Korea| 15-16 June 2020

Glasstec 2020

Dusseldorf, Germany | 20-23 October 2020

Glasstech Asia

Jakarta, Indonesia| 12-14 November

Vitrum 2021

Milan, Italy | 05-08 October 2021

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