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China’s Baoshan ramping up competitiveness in magnetic steel sheets

  • December 12, 2021
  • , Nikkei , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

By Asayama Ryo, Yumae Sotaro, and Matsuda Naoki

 

China’s Baosteel Group Corporation is broadening its presence in magnetic steel sheets, which are used in power transformers at power plants and in motors for electric vehicles (EV). Nikkei scored the importance of magnetic steel sheet patents filed in Japan and ranked the companies that filed such patents. Nippon Steel was ranked first, with Baoshan Steel, a Baosteel subsidiary, in fourth place. As imports of magnetic steel sheets from China are increasing in terms of quality and quantity, China’s magnetic steel sheets can no longer be dismissed.

 

In early October, Nikkei conducted joint research with Patent Results, a patent research firm in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, on magnetic steel sheet patents filed in Japan. The research scored the companies by looking into such data as the number of times the patent was cited by competitors as a similar patent and the number of times lawsuits were brought by competitors. The higher the score, the more competitive the company’s patent.

 

Nippon Steel topped the ranking, followed by JFE Steel and South Korea’s Posco. Baoshan Steel came in fourth, up from eighth place in 2011. The ranking highlighted that the Chinese firm has been honing its expertise and becoming more competitive in intellectual property over the past decade.

 

According to Patent Results, Baoshan has an edge in the laser processing technology specifically used in magnetic steel sheets. The technology can make cut surfaces smooth and make it easier to process magnetic steel sheets with precision components.

 

According to the Ministry of Finance’s trade statistics, Japan’s imports of non-grain-oriented magnetic steel sheets totaled 2.68 billion yen in 2020. China accounted for over 90% of that, valued at 2.634 billion yen, a 25-fold increase from a year earlier. In 2021, imports from China through October have already reached 4.7 billion yen, exceeding the 2020 figure. (Abridged)

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