China may soon be following Europe's lead on banning single-use plastics. Chinese plastics makers, responsible for 29% of the global plastic production, have already started the transition towards using corn, sugar, and other crops to develop biodegradable plastics. This is not a big surprise, given that Chinese President Xi Jinping has publicly addressed concerns about pollution and the environment, and certain districts of China have already initiated plans to ban single-use plastics.
BASF, the top patent holder in the Biodegradable Packaging sector, expects to take advantage of this shift. BASF already has an extensive patent portfolio that puts the company in an extremely favorable position to enter this market, ranging from water-soluble polysaccharide compositions to paper and cardboard packaging with starch-based barrier coating. Lydia Lau, the business development manager for BASF's biodegradable plastic product Ecovio, said that she expects business will pick up in China as Beijing adopts a harder regulatory line on plastics and waste. She also sees potential demand for Ecovio in Chinese agriculture.