Glass industry to remain resilient amid construction slowdown

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The glass industry is expected to remain resilient and continue to align itself to the country’s infrastructure spending, despite the predicted slower growth of the construction industry.

Malaysia Glass Association president Woo Wan Zheng said Malaysia’s glass industry has been growing steadily with industry players leveraging further on their enhanced manufacturing facilities.

“Each segment in our glass industry has been growing as we are adopting numerous new technologies in glassmaking.

“Apart from that, Malaysia has been attracting foreign industry players to set up their factories and businesses here, and that will hopefully maintain the value chain,” she said at the Glasstech Asia 2018.

According to a 2017 report by Global Market Insights Inc, the world flat glass production had surpassed US$80 million (RM336 million) in 2016.

The report stated that demand from the construction industry is expected to exceed 120 million tonnes in 2024, surpassing the US$100 million mark.

Singapore Glass Association chairman Gan Geok Chua said the global glass industry will continue to remain vibrant due to the rising interests in airport and residential buildings, on top of the strict regulations on eco-friendly building materials.

“With the booming construction industry and urbanisation in Malaysia, China, Thailand and the region, as well as the adoption of smart and energy-efficient technologies, the demand for flat glass continues to be positive.

“In Asia Pacific alone, the demand for flat glass has been considered as a significant investment in housing, offices and interior buildings, replacing traditional materials,” he said.

He added that the world glass industry has been invested in extensive research and development to formulate products with additional benefits to further promote the usage of glass in construction.

“We are moving towards products with high insulation, strength and fire resistance, which will drive the growth of the flat glass market over the predicted timeframe,” he said.

Meanwhile, Glasstech Asia 2018 — which is held concurrently with the Fenestration Asia 2018 — aims to provide a sourcing platform for industry players across the world and broaden knowledge in glass manufacturing, processing and products.

The three-day event that begins today, includes an exhibition that showcases 142 international and local exhibitors, and is expected to attract 5,000 visitors.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said in his speech, read by the ministry’s deputy secretary general Datuk Yean Yoke Heng, that Glasstech Asia 2018 is expected to clock in a revenue of more than RM12 million.

“One of the main reasons Malaysia was chosen to host this annual event is due to the glass industry’s significant role in the national economy.

“In Malaysia, more than 11,000 jobs have been created in this industry, resulting in an annual turnover of more than RM2 billion from the combined downstream and upstream sectors,” Mohamaddin said.

He added that the event will bring a total of RM9 million in tourism revenue, as it has attracted the participation of more than 13 countries.

According to the ministry, Malaysia received more than 17 million international tourists as at August 2018, while targeting to achieve 30 million tourist arrivals in 2020, which will bring in approximately RM100 billion in tourism expenditure.