NPC Partners Announces Release of 2020 Edition China Boxboard Industry Advisory Report: Strategy & Market Analysis (2020-24)

2020-03-24 2369

New China boxboard market advisory study 2020-2024 (2020 edition): The nation's new phase sees food grades leading the growth and supply restructuring lifting both imports and exports potential

Hong Kong, China, March 2020 (Press Release) NPC Partners, a premier, innovative consultancy committed to assist the pulp & paper industry in developing new solutions, announced the release of 2020 edition China Boxboard Industry Advisory Report: Strategy & Market Analysis (2020-24).


China is the largest boxboard market in the world, with exports also growing to nearly 2 million tons per year. In terms of annual volume, total demand for boxboard in China grew from nearly 11.7 million tons in 2009 to about 17.0 million tons in 2019, and in terms of total sales, the boxboard market grew to US$12.3 billion in 2019.


Liquid packaging board and cupstock board, as the virgin fiber-based food grades, have maintained robust growth above the total boxboard demand average growth. In addition, recycled boxboard grades still held 60% of total boxboard demand in China.


NPC Partners found that during 2018 and 2019, amid slowing demand, the boxboard sector was further consolidated following more shutdown of boxboard mills than the previous year as well as major acquisitions. In 2020-24, more demand due to switching from plastic packaging as well as newly added capacity will support a modest rebound in growth. It is also foreseen that some existing boxboard producers will find themselves in a more advantageous position, and opportunities for expanded import volumes are likely to become available.


Companies relevant to China and the global boxboard sector will need to review China's role in their existing business strategy and assess their potential opportunities and risks. This new type of study reveals new growth opportunities and strategic insights in the boxboard market inside and outside China:

1. Food related demand will be the primary driving force for boxboard, and its growth in future years may outpace supply.

2. Continued restructuring has been seen in the recycled boxboard segment, not yet reaching bottom, despite improving profitability. Slight demand improvement and import growth opportunities (1 million tonnes’ volume potential) are expected in the forecast period

3. As competition further intensifies, mergers and acquisitions and operations optimization will be the focus. In particular, the cost structure shall reflect the end use demand insights and chosen strategy. Examples are Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)'s takeover of Bohui Paper, and government-led mill closures in Fuyang.

4. Comprehensive and exclusive analysis of new drivers in China’s paper industry as well as the impact of new policies. For instance, imported solid waste reform and new plastics limit initiatives are among the new key factors to this industry.

5. Exclusive analysis of new market changes in 2019 and 2020, including the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, combined with the strategic perspective to points 1-4 above.


The assessment of coronavirus’s impact to China’s economy and the boxboard demand have been integrated into the 2020 edition of the report as NPC Partners consulting conducted its latest surveys and estimates during the February - March period.


Subscribing to this new report could help companies to form a comprehensive understanding of new market drivers, and to use new tools to analyze demand (by sub-grades and by end uses), cost and market structure, so as to conceive better business planning and capture growth. 


Chart 1

China Boxboard Demand Analysis & Forecast based on Sub Grades & End-Use Markets


Source: NPC Partners


The 2020 edition includes following exclusive content revealing 2019 market dynamics and 2020-24 outlook:

- China's boxboard market size and outlook to 2024, by virgin/recycled sub-grades and by end uses

- Strategic implications of plastics resistance and paper replacing plastics trends in the worldwide and Chinese market, and what companies can do with this trend

- Review of China’s paper industry in 2019 and key implications to companies in 2020

- China’s liquid packaging board and food grades markets

- APP - Bohui deal analysis

- Coronavirus’s impact on China’s economy and the paper industry

- And more.  


Our actionable advisory is also based on proprietary modelling (see Chart 1), and industry mainstream database. The new analytical tools are able to reveal the full picture on China’s boxboard demand composition and outlook by sub grades and 13 major end-use markets such as quick food service, beverages, dairy, pharmaceuticals, packaged food products, etc. Since some end uses such as quick food service lacks sufficient quantitative data for measuring boxboard volumes, we estimate the use of cupstock board following a designated market sizing approach that assesses per-capita cup and food container/cartons usages.


On the company level planning, mill intelligence and cost benchmarking are integrated with strategy considerations such as major players positioning, production portfolio, etc. Major paperboard companies such as APP, Sun Paper, Bohui Paper, China Paper Corp, Asia Symbol, Chenming Paper, Stora Enso, Nine Dragons Paper, and Lee & Man Paper are analyzed. More than 100 boxboard machines have been benchmarked.


Chart 2


Source: NPC Partners estimate & forecast analysis


Why the need to understand China with new perspectives and new tools?

The demand-supply new drivers, and pulp and waste paper trends under China’s ‘new phase’ and new policy framework are impacting global pricing and volumes in multiple ways. Companies around the world would need a new kind of advisory that can assist them to anticipate fast-changing market trends and new growth areas, rather than relying on the status-quo analysis or routine news reports.


3 subscription options are tailored to your needs:


Note: Please see 1-7 chapters details in Chart 3

This is also the first report in the pulp and paper industry that combines market analysis and strategic insights, with more analysis on the new policy framework currently in progress in China and their impacts. Extensive interviews with stakeholders including major boxboard producers, converters/end user, traders, government (Ministry of Environment of China, etc.) and associations, were conducted. Data have been collected from China Paper Association, Fisher International, Euromonitor, other market surveys, and other third party sources.


Chart 3


Source: NPC Partners


For further information on the report or inquiry on pricing and/or tailor-made content, please contact, or

visit the project web at:



Andy Tsui

NPC Partners Consulting

Phone: +852 8192-4535 (Hong Kong)





NPC Partners is a premier, innovative consultancy committed to assist the pulp & paper industry in developing powerful solutions, combining strategy and market insights beyond traditional industry space. In the fast-changing market environment there is need of new strategic analysis and out of box solutions which can bring new opportunities. NPC Partners' new approach and independent analysis will help the paper industry to achieve transformation and innovation goals.