Dyestuff Industry In India And China

World demand for dyes and organic pigments to touch $10.6 billion in 2008

According to a study on dyes & organic pigments, the worldwide demand for organic colourants (dyes and organic pigments) is projected to increase at $10.6 billion in 2008 form 4.9 per cent annually in 2003.

Generally, the dyestuff industry comprises three sub-segments, namely dyes, pigment and intermediates. The dye intermediates are petroleum downstream products which are further processed into finished dyes and pigments. These are important sources in major industries like textiles, plastics, paints, paper and printing inks, leather, packaging sector etc.

Leading players in dyes

Textile dyes have been used since the Bronze Age. They also constitute a prototype 21st-century specialty chemicals market. Three large manufacturers namely DyStar, Ciba Specialty Chemicals and Clariant are leaders in the dyes market. The biggest, DyStar, was established in a series of mergers of some of Europe’s leading textile dye businesses in the 1990s. Worldwide excess capacity and price burden, fueled by the immediate growth of Asian manufacturers, have shifted most dyestuff chemistries into commodities. Regulatory barriers have nearly stopped the progress of the opening of fundamentally new dyestuffs. Despite this DyStar, Ciba Specialty Chemicals and Clariant have grown over the past 10 years with innovative products and new chemistry is being set to endure reactive and dispersant dyes as well as in older dyestuffs such as sulfur dyes.

In 2001 the biggest individual company market shares in colourant production were DyStar (23%), Ciba (14%), Clariant (7%), Yorkshire Group (5%), Japanese (5%) and other traditional groups (3%)., and various dyestuff manufacturers comprise the largest group at 43%.

The only way to growth and to keep Asian bulk dyestuff manufacturers at bay, they say, comes straight out of specialty chemicals strategy to distinguish product offerings through collaborative work with customers and charge a premium price for particular products that gives a perfect solution. This is an effective method, provided that these suppliers produce in China, India, Pakistan, and Brazil as well as in the U.S. and Europe, and that most of the textile producers aim to maintain uniform quality and product performance across worldwide.

Europe is facing the problem of overcapacity of about 30 to 40 per cent in the market from Asia, especially China. But, experts believe, Asian manufacturers manufacture a limited number of low-cost, basic dyestuffs. Most of experts of this field believe that growth lies in innovation and differentiation. Though, of the 180,000-ton-per-year worldwide market for dispersed dyes, specialty dyes consist only about 5,000 tons.

DyStar is a major manufacturer of reactive dyes, which were developed 50 years ago at ICI. DyStar was recently purchased by Platinum Equity, is made up of the dyes business of the original ICI, as well as those of Bayer, BASF and Hoechst. DyStar has developed deep-shade dyes for polyesters. New chemistries are emerging for controlling staining from azo and anthraquinone dyes, including thiophene-based azo dyes. DyStar has also developed benzodifuranone dyes for heavy red shades. It modified azo dyes to keep up their performance when applied with the new detergents. The company also set up secrecy agreements with the leading detergent producers to test new detergent chemistry and do the required dye reformulation proactively. It has added the number of reactive groups in its fluoroaromatic Levafix CA reactive dyes. The company has also been functioning on strengthening the chromophore or color component of the dye for improved lightfastness.

Recently, DyStar has made new red dye for cellulosic fibers, Indanthren Deep Red C-FR Plus, is a new speciality dye for medium to heavy shades of red and Bordeaux, suitable for the coloration of cellulosics on continuous and yarn dyeing units as well as cellulosic/polyamide blends. DyStar Textilfarben GmbH has also introduced the classic cold pad batch dyeing process (cpb). Key developments in cold pad batch technology were started in 1957 and are still ongoing:

-Development of dosing pumps (Hoechst)

– Introduction of sodium silicate as a fixing alkali (Hoechst)

– Development of microwave and oven lab fixation method (Hoechst)

– Mathematical determination of pad liquor stability under practical conditions (Hoechst) —
Optidye CR (DyStar)

– Development of silicate free alkali systems (DyStar)

The dyestuffs industry of China

In the first half of 2005, China gained a growth of 4 per cent in dyes and 11 per cent in organic pigment output. A report stated that China’s demand for dyes and pigments is expected to increase at 12 per cent annually by 2008 and output of dyes and pigments will rise by 13 per cent annually by 2008.

According to statistics, in 2004, the production volume of dyeing stuffs and pigments in China reached 598,300 tons and 143,600 tons, an increment of 10.4 per cent and 13.3 per cent over that of the previous year. The total imports and exports of dyeing stuffs and pigments were projected to be 291,200 tons and 138,800 tons; an increase of 10.64 per cent and 16.15 per cent over the same time the previous year. Hence, China has developed to be a large manufacturer, consumer and dealer of dyeing materials, pigments and dyeing auxiliary.

China becomes top importer for Bangladesh

During July-September 2005 Bangladesh imported dyes and chemical (combined) worth 3.73 billion taka ($57.5 million) from China against 2.53 billion taka ($38.9 million) from India.

DyStar expands China facility

Recently DyStar has announced to invest around USD 55 million in a new textile dyes facility at Nanjing to extend its production base in China and step up its focus on this key growth market. Situated about 300 kilometres north-west of Shanghai, Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province, a key area for textile production. It will be DyStar’s third production unit in China, alongside Wuxi, where the production capacity was tripled last year, and Qingdao. This new production site will increase their growth in China. At the same time it will strengthen their international competitiveness and boost market leadership. This investment is a clear sign that DyStar is continuing to invest in its core business and will remain a reliable partner for the textile industry in the long term.

At the new production complex in Nanjing, DyStar will produce dyes for cellulosic and synthetic fibres. In-built flexibility will permit the manufacture of other dyes and extension of the infrastructure in line with requirements. That means DyStar will be able to respond quickly to the rising demand in China. The inauguration of the first plant is scheduled in the first half of 2006.

Indian dyestuff industry

In India the dyestuff industry supplies its majority of the production to the textile industry. Huge of amounts exports of dyes and pigments from India are also done to the textile industry in Europe, South East Asia and Taiwan.

Currently, the Indian dyestuff industry is completely self-dependable for producing the products locally. India presently manufactures all kinds of synthetic dyestuffs and intermediates and has its strong holds in the natural dyestuff market. India has come up as a global supplier of dyestuffs and dye intermediates, mainly for reactive, acid, vat and direct dyes. India has a share of approximately 6 per cent of the world production in dyestuff products.

Structure of dyestuff industry in India

The Indian dyestuff industry has been in existence since about 40 years, though a few MNCs established dyestuff units in the pre independence era. Like the other chemical industry, the dyestuff industry is also widely scattered. The industry is functioning by the co-existence of a few manufacturers in the organised sector (around 50 units) and a large number of small producers (around 1,000 units) in the unorganised sector.

The spreading of these units is slanted towards the western region (Maharashtra and Gujarat) accounting to 90 per cent. In fact, about 80 per cent of the total capacity is in the state of Gujarat, where there are about 750 units.

There has been a huge development in the dyestuff industry during the last decade. This has happened due to the Government’s concessions (excise and tax concessions) to small-scale units and export opportunities generated by the closure of several units in countries like the USA and Europe (due to the implementation of strict pollution control norms). The duty concessions provided to small-scale producers had given in the large ones becoming uncompetitive to some extent. Price competition was strong in the lower segments of the market. Liberalisation of the economy and large-scale reduction of duties have given the decrement of margins for smaller producers. Closing of many small-scale units in Gujarat due to environmental reasons has also helped the organised sector players to grow further.

Over six hundred varieties of dyes and organic pigments are now being produced in India (both by the organised and the unorganised sector). But the per-capita consumption of dyestuffs is less than the world average. Dyes are soluble and basically applied textile products. Pigments, on the other hand, are insoluble and are main sources of products such as paints.

During the past few years, the dyestuff industry was overwhelmed by a series of fast changing upshots in the international platform. The largest market for dyestuffs has been the textile industry. The hold of polyester and cotton in the global markets has positively created the demand for some kinds of dyestuffs. Furthermore, the demand for polyamides, acrylics, cellulose and wool has been close to stagnant. Discrepancy in the regional growth rates of textile products too influences demand. The Asian region has seen the highest development in textile production, followed by North America, Latin America and Western Europe. This shows the change in the global textile industry towards Asia. Subsequently, Asia offers dyestuff production both in terms of volumes and value, with about a 42 per cent share of the global production; the US is next with 24 per cent and Europe has around 22 per cent. Due to a wide use of polyester and cotton-based fabrics, there has been a change towards reactive dyes, applied in cotton-based fabrics, and disperses dyes used in polyester. These two dyes have been leading in all the three regional global market, particularly Asia. Moreover, the change in textile application pattern and regional developments is the amount of over capacity in the global dyestuff industry.

Within India, the leading producers in the pigments industry are Colour Chem and Sudarshan Chemicals while in the dyestuff industry the major players in terms of market share are Atul, Clariant India, Dystar, Ciba Specialities and IDI. The Indian companies together account for nearly 6 per cent of the world production.

Almost 80 per cent of the dyestuffs are commodities. Since not much technology is used, copying of products is also easy as compared to specialties. Though in the recent past, there have been efforts by global producers, with some achievement, to shift to the specialty end of the product profile. Vat dyes have always performed as specialty products, with technology working as a vital function. Now companies are focusing on the higher end of the reactive dyes segment. The inclination is now changing from supplying mere products to colour package solutions. More importance is given to innovation, production range, quality and environmental friendly products. Manufacturers are collaborating with equipment producers to offer integrated solutions rather than products.

Fiscal policies and modification in the application pattern of the global dyestuff industry have revolutionized the market shares of Indian companies. Excise concessions for the small-scale sector in the mid and the late 1980s generated many units in Maharashtra and Gujarat. At one point of time, there were in the unorganised sector nearly 1,000 units, with most of them situated in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Though, since the early 1990s, there has been seen an ongoing decrement in the excise duty rates applicable to the organised sector. From 25 per cent in 1993-94, the excise duty rates were decreased to 20 per cent in 1994-95, and 18 per cent in 1997-98 and further decreased these rates to 16 per cent.

This continuing decrement in the duty rates smoothened the competitive edge of the unorganised sector. The organised sector, with high product range, technology and marketing reach was capable to raise its market share. But more noteworthy changes have gained through the German ban on many dyestuffs, enforced to the local pollution control laws. While the organised sector has been capable to regulating the manufacturing of dyes based on the 20 banned amines by the German legislation, many in the unorganised sector were moved out. This was amalgam by the local pollution laws, which need to establish the effluent treatment plants, and drive out companies in the unorganised sector.

The capacity and production of dyes and dye stuff was 54,000 MT and 26,000 MT respectively in the year 2003-04. The capacity and production of dyes and dye stuff was 54,000 MT and 26,000 MT correspondingly in the year 2003-04. The small scale units offer major share in dyestuff production while large units focus producing dyestuff intermediates.

Disperse and Reactive dyes represent the greatest product segments in the country covering about 45 per cent of dyestuff consumption. In the coming time, both these segments will lead the dyestuff market with disperse dyes possibly to have the greatest contribution followed by reactive dyes. These two segments will hold a greatest share in order to lead textile and synthetic fibers in dyestuff consumption. Vat segment is also projected to prove healthy growth in future.

Exports and Import of Dyestuffs

In the year 2004-2005 the exports of dyestuff industry has touched 1109 million US dollar. Exports of dyestuffs in the year 2000-01 reached to about Rs. 2365 crores and accounted to about 5 per cent of the total world trade of dyestuffs. The main markets for Indian dyestuffs are the European Union, U.S.A., Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Egypt. The following table provides data export and import of dyestuff during last few years.


The technology for dyestuff production changes largely from relatively simple (direct azo) to sophisticated (disperse and vat) dyes. Despite the fact that technology is locally available, most of it is out dated. The setback is further compounded by the fact that the nature of the process differs from batch to batch and, hence, managing the process parameters becomes complex.

The dyestuff industry is one of the largely polluting industries and this has lead to them closing down internationally or changing the units to the emerging economies. Majority of the international producers have shifted the technology to developing nations like China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. This shift of manufacturing capacities is because the industry is supposed to work as a high-cost and low return one. The batch processing also formulates it to a labour- intensive industry. Hence, the competitiveness of developing economies gets a boosts.

Though, in the past decade the Indian industry has made considerable development in terms of technology and production.


Restructuring of the Indian dyestuff industry which started a couple of years ago is still in progress. The movement was initiated by the market leader Colour-Chem Ltd. It has also come into a toll manufacturing agreement with Dystar India Ltd. There have been other arrangements, which would give improving capacity utilisation at manufacturing facilities and also to have better exposure of export markets.

Ciba India and IDI have signed a deal to market polyester and cellulose dyes. IDI has also started work with Ciba for the production and marketing of dyes and pigments. Atul products has received the acquisition of Zeneca’s 50 per cent stake in Atic Industries Ltd and started work with BAS, Germany to market 50 per cent of its manufacturing of vat dyes.

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