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April, 2025
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Analysis of the development status and competition pattern of China's paper packaging industry in 2022, the overseas packaging market has a broad space

I. The category of packaging paper

With paper and pulp as the main raw materials, paper packaging products mainly include corrugated cardboard containers, folding or standing cardboard boxes (or caskets) and paper bags made of non-corrugated cardboard, and paper bags, document boxes, file bags, etc.

The category of packaging paper

II. The relevant policies of the paper packaging industry

Due to the continuous improvement of China’s social awareness of environmental protection and the continuous promotion of the dual carbon strategy, it's environmental protection packaging policies have been formulated one after another. In January 2020, the state issued the "strictest plastic restriction order in history", stipulating that the use of non-degradable plastic bags and disposable plastic products is prohibited and restricted in the production and sales links. In March 2022, the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly deliberated and adopted the Resolution-End Plastic Pollution (Draft), promoting a new stage in global plastic pollution control. In June 2022, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the High-quality Development of Light Industry, which mentioned promoting the consumption of green energy-saving light industry products such as degradable material products. The use of plastic products in daily life is gradually limited, and green packaging will become an important development trend in the packaging industry.

Some Policies Related to Eco-friendly Packaging

Some Policies Related to Eco-friendly Packaging

Industrial Policy

Release Time

Related Content

Guidance on Industrial Restructuring (2019 Edition)


It contains the development, production and application of biodegradable plastics and their series product

Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution


It encourages the development and promotion of green and environmentally friendly plastic products and alternative products and explores and cultivates new formats and models that are conducive to standardizing recovery and recycling and reducing plastic pollution.

Notice on Promoting the Green Development of Sub-commercial Enterprises


E-commerce enterprises in key areas should gradually stop using non-degradable plastic packaging bags and disposable plastic woven bags, and reduce the use of non-degradable plastic tape

Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment and Improvement of a Green and Low-carbon and Circular Economic System


It encourages enterprises to carry out green design, select green materials, implement green procurement, create green manufacturing processes, and promote green packaging.

Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for the Development of the Circular Economy


It includes strengthening the green governance of express packaging, implementing the green product certification system for express packaging, carrying out large-scale application pilots of recyclable express packaging, greatly increasing the proportion of circular transit bags (boxes), and increasing the promotion and application of green recycling shared standardized turnover boxes.

Notice on Printing and Distributing the 14th Five-Year Plan for Plastic Pollution Control


It actively promotes the green design of plastic products. Focusing on disposable plastic products, it formulates green design related standards, optimizes product structure design, reduces the complexity of product material design, and enhances the easy recyclability of plastic products.

Limits on Excessive Packaging of Goods Requirements for Foods and Cosmetics


It strictly limits the number of packaging layers. Food and processed products should not be more than three layers of packaging, and other food and cosmetics should not be more than four layers of packaging. The new standard is conducive to guiding green living and consumption, as well as realizing effective supervision.

III. The Industrial Chain of Paper Packaging Industry

The upstream of the paper packaging industry is mainly papermaking enterprises (including corrugated cardboard containers, folding or standing cardboard boxes (or caskets) and paper bags made of non-corrugated cardboard, and paper bags, document boxes, file bags, etc.), and the downstream is mainly consumer products, such as consumer electronics, food and beverage, chemicals, tobacco, express delivery, etc.


China’s Industrial Chain in Paper Packaging

Paper packaging is the world's largest amount of packaging materials. In recent years, China's packaging paper industry production volume has risen steadily. From 2015 to 2021, China's packaging paper production increased from 6.65 million tons to 7.15 million tons, with an average annual compound growth rate of 1.22%.


IV. Analysis of the development status of China's paper packaging industry

1. Analysis of business status

According to the data of the China Packaging Federation, in 2021, the scale of the national packaging industry has reached 1204.181 billion yuan, of which the scale of the paper packaging field has reached 319.203 billion yuan, an increase of 10.65% year-on-year, accounting for 26.51% of the total scale of the packaging industry, and the industry CAGR from 2016 to 2021 has been -0.9%; The scale of 2022H1 paper packaging reached 155.862 billion yuan, an increase of 1.48% year-on-year, and the total profit of the industry was 4.985 billion yuan, down 14.06% year-on-year, and the decline in profit was mainly due to the increase in raw material prices in the first half of 2022.


2. Analysis of export status

From the perspective of exports, the cumulative export volume of the national paper and paperboard container industry in 2022H1 was 4.606 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 25.44%. Since 2019, the growth rate of export volume has been higher than that of China’s paper packaging industry, and its domestic paper packaging enterprises continue to benefit from the growth demand of overseas paper packaging market.

From the perspective of export distribution, the top five countries and regions in terms of export value in 2022H1 are the United States (23.80%), Australia (5.10%), the United Kingdom (4.20%), Hong Kong (4.09%), and Vietnam (4.03%). In 2022H1, the growth rate of exports to Singapore (157.1%), Malaysia (62.1%), the United States (31.0%) and Germany (28.3%) was higher than that of total exports (25.44%).

3.Number of enterprises

In 2020, there were only 20 paper packaging enterprises with annual revenue of 1 billion in China, among which the top 3 enterprises reached 10 billion. In 2021, there were 2,517 enterprises with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan in paper packaging. The distribution of paper packaging industry presents a long tail phenomenon, mainly due to the low barriers of paper packaging industry and the difficult assessment of packaging quality. Small workshops in various regions still occupy a large market share with the cost of cheap and low-quality pulp and the low labor costs in the third- and fourth-tier cities. In recent years, under the supervision of environmental protection packaging policies, the operating costs of some small workshops have increased, accelerating the liquidation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the industry.

From 2019 to 2021, the number of enterprises with revenue of more than 20 million in China's paper packaging industry

V.Analysis of the competitive pattern of China's paper packaging industry

The competition pattern of China's paper packaging industry is scattered. According to statistics, in 2020, the total revenue of paper packaging business of 9 enterprises such as Hexing Packaging and Yutong Technology accounted for only 11% of the total operating income of the national paper packaging industry. Low industry concentration leads to low overall profits and restricts the development of the industry.


VI. Suggestions for the development of China's paper packaging industry

1.    It needs to clarify its positioning: it may improve its comprehensive strength to be bigger and stronger; it may develop professional packaging services to be specialized and refined; it may explore new packaging formats to extend the industrial chain.

2. Due to the trend of consumption upgrading, it should develop high-value products and continuously improve product quality and service capabilities.

3. Due to the diversification and personalization trend of consumption, it needs to continuously optimize the process and on-site management and build a balance between long and short production capacity.

4. It needs to embark on intelligent construction. According to the construction path of automation, digitalization, networking and intelligence, system planning is carried out and implemented step by step. It can design a technical route of "parallel promotion and integrated development" and continue to promote lean production transformation.

5. It needs to face up to the rigid requirements of green environmental protection, establish a view of green development of "energy saving, environmental protection, low carbon and recycling", and implement comprehensive green measures. In the near future, VOCs governance will be the green focus.