Guiyang, Guizhou-based Vontron Co Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of membrane-based water treatment equipment, is preparing to tap the ultrafiltration segment, having tasted success so far in the reverse osmosis process.
It is also augmenting capacity and expanding into new business areas, said a company executive. Membrane manufacturing capacity would increase from 16 million square meters to 30 million sq m by this yearend.
Vontron is expecting to achieve double-digit sales growth this year. Jin Yan, its general manager, said annual sales are projected to reach 660 million yuan (0 million), up about 11 percent year-on-year. Last year, sales grew 14.7 percent from 2015.
The membrane separation technology is a filtration process to remove ions, molecules or larger particles from water, and is used in a variety of industries, including steel, desalination and power. It is also used for municipal and residential purposes.
Vontron's main products currently use reverse osmosis, a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules and larger particles from drinking water.
In this segment, Vontron has 40 percent market share in China. The domestic market is seen as "close to saturation", Jin said.
So, the company is looking to expand its product portfolio to maintain strong earnings.
In the ultrafiltration segment, Vontron would face competition from Beijing Originwater Technology Co Ltd, Shenzhen Litree Purifying Technology Co Ltd and Tianjin Motimo Membrane Technology Co Ltd.
Established foreign giants include US-based Hydranautics and Dow Filmtec Membranes. As early as in 1980s, the two companies entered China and have since won substantial market share.
Founded in 2000, Vontron is considered a latecomer. It has been seeking to gain brand recognition and market share, said Liu Xia, head of Vontron's overseas business.
"Brand recognition has always been a sore problem," said Liu. "We have a long way to go in terms of further development."
In recent years, China's membrane separation technology market maintained an average annual growth rate of over 25 percent, according to a report by Beijing-based ChinaIRR.org.
It is expected the figure will reach 40 percent in the next decade, the report said. In the same period, the growth rate of Chinese membrane manufacturers is estimated to reach 20 percent, higher than the global average.