(Yicai Global) Sept. 26 -- Despite predictions that graphene, a newly discovered material 100 times stronger than steel, would give rise to a new industrial revolution, Chinese graphene developers are still at the research stage.
Major multinationals such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp. have moved forward with graphene product development and application. Chinese graphene companies remain limited in scale, though, and it is expected that nine in ten of them will go out of business.
Large corporations generally target higher end markets, so their research and development results are less visible. Small firms have more flexible decision-making mechanisms, but are less stable and are therefore exposed to greater risks due to limited funding resources. Only two or three out of every 100 companies can survive at the most, said Mr. Zhang Dongbao, general manager at Shenzhen Leaguer Venture Capital Co., an angel investment company specializing in the graphene industry.
"So far, only two Chinese companies have achieved small-scale graphene production in the LED industry and other enterprises have only produced products with a limited scope of applications such as composites and touch screens. High-end applications such as semiconductors have not yet been developed," said Dr. Wang Xin, global partner and president of growth partnership company Frost & Sullivan Greater China.
Despite these difficulties, favorable government policies and the readiness of investment companies to enter the graphene space have led to a frenzy of stock-market speculation. LCD glass substrate manufacturer Dongxu Optoelectronic Technology Co. [SHE:000413] saw a surge in its share price from CNY5.7 (USD0.85) to CNY17 following its announced entry into the graphene market late last year.
"From the long-term perspective, real breakthroughs can't be achieved unless the graphene market is recognized as the new direction for industry upgrading and transformation," Mr. Wang Zhonghui, deputy general manager of Dongxu Optoelectronic, said.