With new technologies against shrinking Asian markets

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During the first week of November 2019, 14 ECTS member companies from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and France visited Malaysia and Vietnam.

The journeys included factory visits and  technology symposia in Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. The European suppliers got in touch with different stakeholders of the brick industries of both countries. Mainly brick makers but also representatives of politics and universities. Both countries have a long heavy clay tradition and lots of brick plants are spread all over their territories. But both brick industries are facing difficult times. The heavy clay does not have a good standing as building material. It is considered an outdated building material that does not fit into a world of modern and efficient buildings. Although the opposite is true, this false view is widespread and even makes it difficult to build with heavy clay products.

In Malaysia the construction code is punishing the use of fired clay bricks. In the official credit point system in Malaysia each new building must reach a certain number of credit points. Different building materials contribute a different number of credit points. Thereby, clay bricks contribute cero credit points. In the neighbor state of Singapore, once a strong export destination for Malaysian brick makers, the use of clay bricks even is punished by a negative credits! So, the heavy clay is losing market against alternative building materials. To improve this situation, the brick industry has to show that it can offer modern and efficient solution to the construction sector. Therefore, new and better clay products, with high insulating quality, have to be introduced to the market. Only by innovation the brick industry can recover its lost market share.

In Hanoi, Dr. Thai Duy Sam, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Association for Building Materials (VABM) gave an overview on the production and utilization of bricks in Vietnam. Vietnam is an economically and demographically fast growing country with strong needs of modern and efficient housing. The state-run economy is looking for the best way to achieve this goal. Making them understand the quality and advantages of good clay products will be the way to boost the Vietnamese brick industry and generate a higher demand for ECTS technology. Chinese and locally made equipment are dominating the market. Anyway, the Government is seeking a significant improvement in housing quality and is open for innovative solutions from Europe.