China Baowu Steel Group emerged as the world’s biggest producer of crude steel in 2019 according to the latest raft of publicly available industry data.
Baowu produced 95.22 million tons of crude steel in 2019, for a YoY rise of 41%.
Output received a major boost from Baowu’s September acquisition of Magang (Group) Holding – China’s ninth biggest steel supplier.
This output enabled Baowu to displace ArcelorMittal as the world’s biggest crude steel producer, after the Indian firm held the position since 2001.
ArcelorMittal saw its own output decline 7% YoY in 2019 to 89.8 million tons, as faltering automobile markets undermined demand.
Baowu chairman Chen Derong has previously said that the company has ambitions to become the world’s global leader on the international steel market in terms of both technology and profitability.
Baowu itself is the product of a merger between Baosteel Group and Wuhan Iron & Steel Group in 2016, when the two companies were China’s fifth and 11th largest steelmakers respectively.
China has sought to reduce the number of its steel makers amidst overproduction concerns that could lead to a plunge in prices.
Over the past decade the number of large-scale Chinese steelmakers has fallen from 130 in 2010 to around 100.
According to official figures excess capacity was reduced by 150 million tons through 2018, which is around 10% of total capacity.