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New applications spur cables industry

Optical fiber and cable makers are boosting R&D to build up core technology and target opportunities in new energy.

China’s cables industry is gathering steam, fueled by increasing adoption in emerging applications such as new energy. In 2010, its total output value reached $136.8 billion, the highest in the world.

Fiber-optic cable

About 200 optical fiber and cable suppliers constitute China’s sector.

The upturn was evident even at city level, with Fuzhou in Fujian province, for instance, posting a record $200 million in export value. The growth rate was 66 percent YoY. This came as the area developed into a key production hub and export base for vehicle cables.

In response to trends for alternative energy sources, makers are bolstering R&D on submarine cables employed in offshore wind power systems.

Manufacturers are likewise developing variants that suit requirements in intelligent housing and meter reading.
Hengtong Optic-Electric, for example, will direct product development toward dedicated fiber, and optical and copper telecom cables.

The company will raise exports by 30 percent, focusing on emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and India. At present, Hengtong Optic-Electric provides optical ground wires and phase conductors to Japan supplier Fujikura.

China has about 200 optical fiber and cable manufacturers. Although the local industry has significantly progressed over the years, enterprises still lag behind foreign counterparts in terms of manufacturing technique. The production cost of optical fiber remains high.

Suppliers are also facing challenges in developing their own core technology due to patent issues.

China’s cable manufacture is currently affected by the drop in prefabricated rod yield, which was a result of the massive quake in Japan in March. The incident, however, bolstered optical fiber manufacture in the country.

FiberHome Telecommunications Technologies Co. Ltd has teamed up with Fujikura to develop and mass-produce low-cost fiber prefab rod. The project is anticipated to lower rod outlay by 20 to 30 percent compared with imported variants. The initial phase targets a production capacity of 300 tons, while the second stage will aim for 500 to 600 tons.

The volume will be raised to 900 tons in the next phase.

Note: This article "New applications spur cables industry" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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