What changes have occurred in the water purification industry since introducing the new water efficiency standards?


What changes have occurred in China's water purification industry since introducing the new water efficiency standards?

From July 1, 2022, "Water Efficiency Limits and Water Efficiency Grades of Water Purifiers" has been officially introduced by the State Administration for Market Regulation (National Standards Committee). The new efficiency standard is mainly focused on nanofiltration technology, along with other mainstream water purification technologies, and on water efficiency limits, water-saving evaluation values, technical requirements, and testing methods.

Tang Jianxing, President of the Water Purification Industry branch of the National Health Industry Business Management Association

New efficiency standards pose new challenges and create new opportunities for water purification manufacturers, which will certainly lead to the development of the industry, better user experience for the consumers, and will weed out manufacturers who don’t meet the new standards.

After more than a month since the official implementation of the new standards, how has the market changed? We caught up with Tang Jianxing, President of the Water Purification Industry branch of the National Health Industry Business Management Association, and discussed the market, business, and products.

"In general, the new water efficiency national standard hasn’t had a considerable impact on the development of the water purification industry." Tang believes that "the national standard is mostly focused on reverse osmosis and nanofiltration. These two technologies are also the mainstream water purification technologies in the current market, accounting for 50% of the market share. Nothing changed much since the implementation of the new standard a month ago. We will most likely see the change in a few years after the new standard had been implemented by everyone in the water purification industry, and once water purification efficiency labels had been introduced as a norm. ”

Water purification companies will have to make a lot of technical adjustments to meet the new water purification standards. For example, to reduce the flushing and sewage discharge of reverse osmosis membranes, many companies have adopted scale inhibitors or the intelligent recoil structure membrane shell water-saving technology that limits the TDS value of the effluent, but this also requires higher manufacturing costs. Furthermore, Tang mentioned that "many membrane companies are working hard to develop water-saving membrane technology, and many have already achieved great results."

About the nanofiltration water purification products that have been recently included in the standard, Tang said: "The fundamental problem of nanofiltration is that our national management department's current understanding of it is consistent with reverse osmosis, even in many national standards. The required indicators are the same as those of reverse osmosis, which makes the market position of nanofiltration membrane challenging. Although nanofiltration membrane is a promising technology, it is still not used as often as the RO. Therefore, the nanofiltration technology needs more publicity so consumers can better compare the two technologies and understand its advantages and disadvantages."

Furthermore, in response to the question of how to deal with the equipment produced  before the implementation of the new national water efficiency standard, Tang said that "according to the water efficiency national standard management measures, the water purification equipment manufactured before July 1  have a one-year transition period, meaning that the inventory must be sold out within 1 year.”

The current market for domestic water purifiers is quite complex. In addition to the brands in the water purification industry, there are also home appliance brands/Internet companies entering the market, as well as many OEM products in the secondary and tertiary markets. This is exactly why the new standard has been introduced - to raise the entry threshold of the industry and put forward higher technology requirements. However, many water purification companies have improved their products long before the implementation of the new standard. In this regard, Tang said that "at present, there are many excellent water purification brands in the market, and many have joined our Association.” The introduction of new standards will encourage manufacturers to upgrade their products, and make the user experience a priority. 

According to public data, less than 5% of Chinese households use water purification equipment such as water purifiers, and the penetration rate of water purifiers is far below the standards of other developed countries. Due to the lack of industry standards and consumers' awareness of drinking water safety, the penetration rate of water purifiers in China is much lower than that of developed countries in Europe and Americas.

About Water Purification Industry Branch, National Health Industry Business Management Association

The Water Purification Industry Branch of the National Health Industry Enterprise Management Association was established on June 26, 2014. Tang Jianxing, Deputy Secretary-General of the NHIBMA, was elected as the president of the first and second water purification industry branches. The branch has a secretariat, Office, Membership Department, Training Department, Joint Insurance Department, Media Department, Legal Department, International Department, Government and Enterprise Affairs Department, Parts Supply Chain Information Department, Large Equipment R&D Center, Water Purification Intelligent Industrial Park. The Water Purification Branch mainly represents businesses that produce, sell and serve various direct drinking water equipment, beverage companies, bottled water manufacturers, sewage treatment companies, and other water technology-related businesses.