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    Tungsten carbide power market to stay weak in Q1 2019
    ----Interview with Chen Weidong
    General Manager
    Guangdong Xianglu Tungsten Co., Ltd.
    Set up in 1997, Guangdong Xianglu Tungsten Co., Ltd. is one of the leading private enterprises in Guangdong province. It focuses upon development, production and selling of tungsten products, and has cultivated a product portfolio consisting of APT, tungsten oxide, tungsten powder, tungsten carbide powder and cemented carbide. In 2016 the company was granted, together with other 13 Chinese companies, with the license on direct exporting of tungsten products. Thanks to years of hard working, Xianglu Tungsten has grown into the biggest tungsten producer and exporter in Guangdong province, and has been successively granted with a number of titles or certificates, such as National High-tech Enterprise, China's Excellent Private Technical Enterprise, Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center on Tungsten New Materials, Guangdong Provincial Enterprise Technology Center and so on.

    Asian Metal: Hello, Mr. Chen. Thanks for taking this interview. Would you please first give a brief introduction to your company?

    Mr. Chen: Since 1997 when our company was set up, we have been focusing upon research, production and selling of tungsten products. In January 2017, we got publically listed and after that we acquired Jiangxi-based Dayu Longxintai Mining Co., Ltd. Now, we are mainly engaged in ore mining, beneficiation and smelting, tungsten powder processing and deep processing of cemented carbide and tools.
    Xianglu Tungsten headquarter building

    Asian Metal: Which aspect will you put more emphasis on in 2019? Will you adopt new technologies or commence new projects, or will there be any changes to your output?

    Mr. Chen: In terms of technology, we have been working on technological research and upgrading; and in terms of project,  we just completed capacity expansion for tungsten carbide powder and our Chaozhou headquarter has lifted its annual production capacity of the material by 2,000t to 5,000t now. We also have capacity ramp-up plan for cemented carbide. Our Chaozhou headquarter has an existing 300tpy capacity of this material, which is expected to expand to 800tpy as we have put in place most of new equipment as planned. The new equipment is expected to go into operation this April.
    Xianglu Tungsten workshop (a)
    Xianglu Tungsten workshop (b)

    Asian Metal: Compared with other tungsten companies, what are the advantages of your tungsten products?

    Mr. Chen: In terms of product structure, we have obvious advantages in ultrafine and extra-coarse tungsten carbide powder, and our products also have excellent stability which makes them stand out in comparison to products of other tungsten producers in China. We have been doing research on these two product varieties, hoping to produce materials of higher qualities.
    Tungsten powder produced by Xianglu Tungsten
    Tungsten carbide powder produced by Xianglu Tungsten

    Asian Metal: Since mid-June 2018, prices for tungsten products have been continuously decreasing. How do you think of this phenomenon? During the price decreasing period, what did you do in response and how did you ensure your sales?

    Mr. Chen: This question is related to the international economic cycle, and we attribute the price decreases after last mid-June to influences from periodic economic fluctuations. Such a case will be a trial on a company's purchasing ability. Take our company as an example. As we purchase raw materials mainly based upon orders we have received, we will work hard together with our regular clients to formulate their purchase plans in advance; and for some large clients, we will work with them to get their half-year or one-year purchase plans in advance. By doing this, we can learn earlier our purchase volumes on tungsten concentrate and APT, and better prepare ourselves for price fluctuations. We seldom bet on the market; instead, we identify downstream clients' demand first and then make purchases according to it. Of course, we also make strategic purchases to dodge risks, but we are cautious in setting our purchase volumes of this sort. In sum, we make purchases mainly according to orders we have received and make supplementary strategic purchases too. By adopting such a steady and safe purchase model, we can effectively avoid risks related to violent price fluctuations.
    Tungsten oxide produced by Xianglu Tungsten

    Asian Metal: What are the striking problems you think existing in China's tungsten industries? And how should we do to improve?

    Mr. Chen: Compared with other countries, China still lags behind in terms of tungsten product structure and production technology to some extent. For example, some Chinese tungsten factories do not have many diversified product specifications, and still depend on overseas markets for high-end products such as cemented carbide products, tools and CNC cutting blades. China is positioned at a relatively lower end in products' added value chain. But what is encouraging is that the gap is shrinking in the recent years, which means good news for the whole tungsten industry.

    Asian Metal: It is reported that in 2019 some Chinese tungsten producers plan to increase their production capacities of APT, tungsten carbide powder or cemented carbide. What are your opinions on this change?

    Mr. Chen: It will first intensify price competition among suppliers. And moreover, as producers who intend to increase capacities are mainly major companies in the tungsten industry, they will impose greater pressure, either in terms of resources, production size or technology, upon smaller producers when they succeed in expanding capacities.
    Tungsten cemented carbide produced by Xianglu Tungsten

    Asian Metal: How do you anticipate the price trend for tungsten carbide powder in the first quarter of 2019?

    Mr. Chen: Owing to weak downstream demand, many companies failed to fulfill their production goals for 2018, and accordingly many of them can enjoy a longer Spring Festival holiday at the beginning of 2019. So I think that overall prices would still stay at a low level in the first quarter of 2019.

    Asian Metal: Thanks again for taking our interview. Wish your company better and better.

    Mr. Chen: Thank Asian Metal too for providing us this opportunity to communicate with our counterparts and to show our company. Wish Asian Metal a more prosperous tomorrow.
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