Kangnam Chemical is a raw materials company based around 50 km south of Seoul, Korea, and claims a number of significant milestones, including making the binders for a number of Olympic athletic tracks. Simon Robinson made a visit.
Korean industrial parks are big and well laid out, with good facilities. It was raining when we visited Kangnam Chemical’s site in Ansan, south of Seoul; the high humidity did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the people at the firm who showed us around.
Founded in 1971 as a company making phenolic resins, its most high-profile contracts were to
supply polyurethane binders for the 1988 and 2012 Olympic athletic tracks. If you fly into the country through Inchon airport, the chances are that you or your plane will travel over polyurea spray that was produced using its materials.
The company has about seven different product lines, including brake pads — an outlet for phenolic resins — through to polyurethane grades such as elastomeric parts and synthetic leathers. It exports to about 20 countries worldwide, said Yong Kwon Lee, manager of the overseas sales team.
The company is medium-sized and in 2016 had sales of about $140m. ‘We estimate that they will be greater than $200m this year,’ Lee claimed. He said that domestic sales were up around 80% in 2016. ‘It’s going better than last year,’ he added.