What is fine chemical industry? Which industries are included?

Release Time:

Jun 07,2023

In recent years, all countries in the world, especially industrially developed countries, have regarded the development of fine chemical products as one of the key development strategies for the upgrading and adjustment of the traditional chemical industry structure, and their chemical industries are all developing in the direction of "diversification" and "refinement".

In recent years, all countries in the world, especially industrially developed countries, have regarded the development of fine chemical products as one of the key development strategies for the upgrading and adjustment of the traditional chemical industry structure, and their chemical industries are all developing in the direction of "diversification" and "refinement". With the further development of social economy, people's demand for electronics, automobiles, machinery industry, new building materials, new energy and new environmental protection materials will further increase, and electronics and information chemicals, surface engineering chemicals, pharmaceutical chemicals, etc. With further development, the global fine chemicals market will maintain a faster growth rate than the traditional chemical industry.

fine chemicals

Fine chemicals refer to chemicals that can enhance or endow a product (category) with a specific function or have a specific function, and are manufactured and applied in small batches, with high technical density, high added value, and high purity. The product of deep processing.

In 1986, the former Ministry of Chemical Industry divided fine chemical products into 11 categories: (1) pesticides; (2) dyes; (3) coatings (including paints and inks); (4) pigments; (5) reagents and high-purity substances (6) Information chemicals (including photosensitive materials, magnetic materials and other chemicals that can accept electromagnetic waves); (7) Food and feed additives; (8) Adhesives; (9) Catalysts and various additives; ( 10) Chemicals (raw materials) and daily chemicals (produced by chemical systems); (11) Functional polymer materials in polymers (including functional films, polarizing materials, etc.). With the development of the national economy, the development and application fields of fine chemicals will continue to expand, and new categories will continue to increase.

Fine chemicals have the following characteristics:

(1) There are many types of products and wide application fields

There are 40-50 categories of fine chemicals in the world, with more than 100,000 varieties. Fine chemicals are used in all aspects of daily life, such as medicine, dyes, pesticides, coatings, daily chemicals, electronic materials, paper chemicals, inks, food additives, feed additives, water treatment, etc., also in aerospace, biotechnology, It is widely used in high-tech fields such as information technology, new materials, new energy technology, and environmental protection.

(2) The production technology is complex

There are many varieties of fine chemicals, and the same intermediate product can be extended to several or even dozens of derivatives with different uses through different technological processes. The production process is complex and changeable, and the technology is complicated. All kinds of fine chemical products need to go through laboratory development, small test, pilot test and then large-scale production. They also need to be updated or improved in time according to the changes in the needs of downstream customers. The requirements for product quality and stability are relatively high. Continuously improve the process and accumulate experience in the process. Therefore, the derivative development of fine chemical products in subdivided fields, the accumulation of experience in production technology and the ability to innovate are the core competitiveness of a fine chemical enterprise.

(3) High added value of the product

The production process involved in fine chemical products is relatively long, and it needs to go through multiple multi-unit operations. Easy separation and high product yield require high-level process technology and reaction equipment. Therefore, fine chemical products generally have higher added value.

(4) There are many types of compound products

In practical applications, fine chemicals appear with the comprehensive functions of products, which requires screening of different chemical structures in chemical synthesis, and giving full play to the synergistic cooperation between the functions of fine chemicals and other compounding substances in the production of dosage forms. The demand for fine chemical products in industrial production is diverse, and a single product is difficult to meet the needs of production or use. Taking the water treatment industry in which the company is located as an example, the special chemicals used in this field include bactericides and algaecides, inhibitors Scaling agents, corrosion inhibitors, flocculants, etc., and the chemical preparations for each purpose can be compounded by several chemical agents.

(5) The product has a high viscosity to downstream customers

Fine chemical products are generally used in specific areas of industrial production processes or to achieve specific functions of downstream products. Therefore, users have higher requirements for product quality and stability, and stricter supplier selection processes and standards. Once entered into the supplier list, they will Will not be replaced easily.

02 Classification of fine chemical industry

Fine chemical industry is a general term for the production of fine chemical industry, referred to as "fine chemical industry", which has economic characteristics such as high added value and high investment profit. The fine chemical industry has high technology intensity, high product added value, and high profit margin, and its development relies on technological innovation. It is the strategic focus of the development of the chemical industry in the world today, and it is also an important symbol of a country's comprehensive technological level and the fastest growing economy. one of the fields.

1. Divided by application field

According to the national economic classification standard, fine chemical industry is divided into four sub-industries: pesticide manufacturing, paint, ink, pigment and similar product manufacturing, special chemical product manufacturing and daily chemical product manufacturing.

2. Divided by product category

With the rapid development of my country's economy and technology after the reform and opening up, my country's fine chemical industry has developed rapidly. According to product categories, it can be divided into two parts: traditional fields and emerging fields.

(1) Traditional fields of fine chemical industry

The traditional fields of the fine chemical industry mainly include pesticides, fertilizers, coatings and other fields. After long-term accumulation, my country's fine chemical industry has basically met the needs of national economic development in traditional fields, and some products have achieved certain international competitiveness. The output of dyes and pesticides has ranked first in the world, and the output of paint has reached the fourth place in the world.

(2) Emerging fields of fine chemical industry

Fine chemical products in the emerging field are characterized by strong specificity and high technical content, and the categories mainly include food additives, feed additives, adhesives, surfactants, papermaking chemicals, water treatment chemicals, electronic chemicals, etc. At present, the overall technical level of my country's fine chemical industry is still relatively low, and fine chemical products in some emerging fields still need to be imported in large quantities.

Characteristics of fine chemical industry

1. The fine chemical industry belongs to the manufacturing industry and has a high degree of industrial correlation with other industries

The industries that are closely related to the fine chemical industry mainly include: agriculture, textile industry, construction industry, paper industry, food industry, daily chemical production, electronic equipment, etc. The development of the fine chemical industry is closely related to these industries.

The upstream of the fine chemical industry is mainly the manufacturing of basic chemical raw materials; at the same time, the products provided by the fine chemical industry are the basic raw materials for many other industries, such as agriculture, construction, textiles, pharmaceuticals and other important industries. The development of related industries such as agriculture, construction, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and electronics provides opportunities for the development of the fine chemical industry; at the same time, the development of the fine chemical industry will also promote the development of upstream industries.

2. The fine chemical industry has certain characteristics of economies of scale

The production scale of foreign fine chemical production enterprises is more than 100,000 tons. In the second half of the 20th century, the global fine chemical production enterprises, represented by the United States and Japan, were large-scale and specialized in order to continuously reduce production costs. At present, the concentration of my country's fine chemical industry is relatively low, with most small enterprises and medium and large enterprises, especially large enterprises.

3. The fine chemical industry is an industry that emits high industrial pollutants

According to the 2012 Environmental Statistical Annual Report, the wastewater discharge of the chemical industry accounts for 16.3% of the national industrial wastewater discharge, ranking second; the waste gas discharge accounts for 6% of the national industrial waste gas discharge, ranking fourth; the solid waste discharge It accounts for 5% of the national industrial solid waste discharge, ranking fifth; COD discharge accounts for 11.7% of the national industrial COD total discharge, ranking third.

4. Cyclical characteristics of the industry

The downstream industries of the fine chemical industry mainly include environmentally friendly plasticizers, powder coatings, insulating materials, high-temperature curing agents and other industries. The terminal products are used in various plastic products, building materials, packaging materials, household appliances, automotive machinery, etc., covering In many areas of the national economy, the industry itself does not have obvious cyclical characteristics, but it will fluctuate to a certain extent with the change of the overall economic situation due to the influence of the macro economy. The industry cycle is basically consistent with the cycle of the entire macro economy.

5. Regional characteristics of the industry

Judging from the regional distribution of enterprises in my country's fine chemical industry, the regional pattern of enterprises in the fine chemical industry is obvious, among which the East China region accounts for the largest proportion, and the North China region ranks second.

6. Seasonal characteristics of the industry

The downstream application fields of the fine chemical industry are relatively extensive, and there is no obvious seasonal characteristic in general.

04Fine chemical industry barriers

There are many types of fine chemical products, fast update speed, strong specificity, and complex production processes. This determines that the main obstacles to entering this industry are technology research and development barriers, environmental protection and safety barriers, sales channel barriers, and capital investment barriers.

1. Technology research and development barriers

In addition to professional academic background, high-end technicians of fine chemical intermediates also need years of practical experience in R&D and production. There are many types of fine chemical intermediates and they are updated quickly. It is necessary to continuously adjust and update product varieties in accordance with the needs of downstream industries such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and dyes. This requires enterprises to have strong research and development capabilities and reserves of new technologies and new varieties.

The technical research and development of the fine chemical industry mainly focuses on the selection of new product varieties, the selection of chemical reaction process routes, the selection of catalysts, and the control of processes such as temperature, pressure, and time. etc. The difference is huge. Therefore, it is extremely important for the company's sustainable development to have a large number of high-end and mature professional and technical personnel. The fine chemical industry also has very high requirements for crystallization and separation technology, distillation and purification technology, chromatographic inspection technology, safe operation technology and pollutant treatment technology, requiring enterprises to equip corresponding professional production technical workers.

To sum up, fine chemical enterprises must have strong product research and development capabilities and long-term production technology accumulation if they want to enter the market and develop in the long-term. These aspects constitute the technical barriers of the industry.

2. Environmental and safety barriers

During the production process of fine chemical industry, waste water, waste gas, solid waste and other harmful substances will be produced. Enterprises need to invest a lot of money in the treatment of these harmful substances, so that the production of enterprises can meet the national environmental protection standards. With the increasing national environmental protection standards, enterprises must continue to increase the research and development of pollutant treatment technology, the investment in environmental protection facilities and the disposal of pollutants.

At the same time, some raw materials and intermediate products used in the production process are dangerous chemicals such as flammable, explosive, and toxic. The chemical reactions in the production process have safety risks such as leakage, flammability, and explosion. If employees violate the safe operating procedures, resulting in changes in the reaction path, temperature, concentration and pressure exceeding safety standards, or if the equipment is seriously aged and in disrepair, safety accidents such as explosions, leakages, and fires may occur, resulting in casualties and property losses of the company. The company needs to continue to invest in safe production processing technology and safety protection.

To sum up, the continuous strengthening of environmental protection and safety requirements, and the increasing investment in environmental protection and safety of enterprises constitute the environmental protection and safety barriers of the fine chemical industry.

3. Sales channel barriers

Fine chemical intermediate products are highly specific and need to establish specific sales channels. Whether they can maintain long-term business cooperation with customers will have a major impact on the daily operation and long-term development of the company. The quality and purity of fine chemical intermediates directly affect the performance and quality of end products. Multinational comprehensive chemical companies such as BASF Group and South Korea Cologne have quite strict requirements on suppliers' production scale, product quality, and sustainable operation capabilities. Usually After conducting a comprehensive inspection and evaluation of the relevant intermediate manufacturers from various aspects such as research and development capabilities, product quality, environmental protection measures, and occupational health, the main suppliers of one or several intermediates are determined, and regular review ratings are carried out. /audit.

Therefore, once a fine chemical intermediate company is selected as a supplier, it will usually form a stable cooperative relationship with large downstream customers. Specific sales channels and strict qualification requirements constitute strong sales channel barriers for new entrants.

4. Barriers to capital investment

With the improvement of my country's environmental protection policy, safety production policy and employee welfare policy, and the increasingly stringent import standards of fine chemical intermediates in developed countries such as the United States and Europe, the entry threshold for the fine chemical intermediate industry is getting higher and higher. Both require fine chemical intermediate manufacturers to invest heavily in environmental protection, safety, product research and development, and business scale, resulting in a continuous increase in their initial and continuous investment. Small fine chemical enterprises without scale and technical advantages will be gradually eliminated by the market.

Therefore, the ever-increasing requirements for fixed assets and R&D investment constitute capital barriers to enter the industry.

05Introduction to the industrial chain of the fine chemical industry

The fine chemical industry is an important pillar industry of the national economy. The upstream includes raw materials such as petroleum and ore, and the downstream includes agriculture, textile industry, construction industry, paper industry, food industry, daily chemical production, electronic equipment and many other industries. The fine chemical industry involves many fields in the national economy and has a high strategic position.