CRI: Lactic Acid and Polylactic Acid (PLA) Industry in China, 2011-2020


The global lactic acid is mainly produced in the U.S., West Europe, Japan, China, etc. The fermentation method is adopted in most manufacturers. The production capacity of lactic acid is concentrated in North America, Asia and Europe. Lactic acid is widely used in many fields. In recent years, with the extremely insufficient resources and more concerns for environmental protection, the degradable polylactic acid (PLA) made from lactic acid is more widely applied.

In Chinese lactic acid industry, only 10 enterprises, such as Henan Jindan Lacitc Acid Technology Co., Ltd. and COFCO Biochemical (Anhui) Co., Ltd. can reach annual production capacity of tens of thousands of tons. Most enterprises are small-sized with annual production capacity of hundreds to thousands of tons. Many enterprises in China issued the proposed projects or expansion plans. It is expected that the annual production capacity and output volume will rapidly increase.

A sound industry chain system is formed in Chinese lactic acid industry. In terms of the constitution of upstream and downstream industries, lactic acid manufacturing industry is the extension of raw material industry, which partly realizes the development from raw materials to high-end industry chain.

In China, the major upstream raw material of lactic acid is corn starch, and the downstream includes food and beverage, medicine, chemical engineering, cosmetics and electronics industry. With the largest consumption of lactic acid, the food and beverages enjoys the annual growth rate of above 10%. The application in other industries includes leather manufacture, micro electronics, electroplating and PLA production. The output volume of China’s lactic acid exceeded more than 180,000 tons in 2015.