China develops world’s thinnest glass, eyes competitive market edge
China has set a new world record for thinness with its ultra-thin glass, with an expert saying that the core technology breakthrough in manufacturing makes China at par when dealing with foreign companies, and also makes the international market a fair one.
The new glass is 0.12 millimeters thick and is produced using the "float process," China Central Television reported on Wednesday.
The glass was developed by Bengbu Glass Industry Design Research Institute in East China's Anhui Province and began mass production in April, the report said.
Ultra-thin glass is the core material in making electronic display screens on mobile phones, computers and televisions. It is difficult to make it thin while maintaining strength and toughness.
"The technology breakthrough allows China to have a bigger role in the international flat panel display market and makes China more confident when cooperating with foreign corporations," Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's International Market Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.
A test shows that the paper-thin glass remains intact after being slammed by a steel ball whose power is equivalent to that of a compact car hitting a wall at a speed of 150 kilometers per hour, CCTV reported.
"It is important for China to develop its own technology in significant fields to be on par with foreign companies and countries, otherwise it would be in a position of weakness when encountering challenges. ZTE Corp's case is an example," Bai said.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in April that American companies will be banned from exporting components to Shenzhen-based Chinese company ZTE, which produces smartphones and other telecommunication equipment.
In the past four years, China-made materials for electronic display screens have risen to 40 percent of the global market, CCTV reported.
"China's manufacturing and market scales are larger than other countries. It is possible that one breakthrough can lead to tens of billions of yuan in revenue," Bai said.
The ultra-thin glass market in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at the highest compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2022. The increasing demand for ultra-thin glass from the consumer electronics industry in China and Japan is forecast to drive market growth in this region, Business Wire, a US-based business news platform, reported.