Author: Qin Enhao, Manager of ICL China Representative OfficeSince its market launch in 2002, pyraclostrobin has become very popular among users. Its sales have grown rapidly, reaching $765 million worldwide in 2016. Pyraclostrobin ranks second in the world’s 15 prime fungicide varieties, next only to azoxystrobin. Pyraclostrobin is expanding rapidly in the global market, especially in the US and Brazilian markets. In 2011, BASF raised the estimated sales of the product up to $1.295 billion per year.
Because of the promising market expectation, demand for registration of pyraclostrobin has boomed among Chinese companies in recent years. Up until the end of August 2017, 281 products have been registered, including registrations obtained by BASF. As the pyraclostrobin technical patent and synthesis patent expired in June 2015, several Chinese companies started the process of registration and production of the material.
Close attentions needs to be paid to the two intermediates in the process of development of pyraclostrobin：
1.4-Chlorophenylhydrazine hydrochloride: precursor of 1- (4-chlorophenyl) -3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole, currently subject to strict environmental impact assessment.
2.1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole: being currently outsourced by the Chinese pyraclostrobin production companies. Vendors are mostly relatively small chemical factories with limited capacity. With an increasing number of pyraclostrobin producers in China, demand for 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole is expected to rise. Moreover, the strict environmental regulations indicate a short supply of the intermediate in the long run.
Since a majority of the Chinese companies are unable to maintain an assured supply of the intermediate 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole, the competiveness of the companies is compromised, which affects the quality of pyraclostrobin. At present, the purity of pyraclostrobin produced by the Chinese companies varies, and a significant difference may even exist in different batches. The core issue lies in the unstable quality of intermediates and the uncertainty in quality assurance.
As mentioned above, the vendors that produce 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole have a relatively small production capacity. Some of them do not even have a production permit, so the product quality is undependable. Furthermore, these vendors do not implement the required environmental measures, and run the risk of facing closure in the future with China’s environmental compliance requirement becoming more and more stringent. Chinese pyraclostrobin companies ought to pay attention to the above concerns.
Secured raw materials and intermediates, prior registration, and a sense of quality are some of the things that the Chinese pyraclostrobin companies must ensure to develop the pyraclostrobin market. For example Zhejiang Xinnong Chemical
, which is not the first Chinese company to produce pyraclostrobin, has a distinct advantage in raw material supplies. Due to its dealings with multinationals and experience in the diazotization process, the company could optimize the “diazotization process” and apply the same to pyraclostrobin synthesis, and thus achieve a secured supply of the intermediates 4-Chlorophenylhydrazine hydrochloride and 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1-h-pyrazole. In the meantime, a complete set of data can be generated in its overseas GLP lab to ensure data consistency in the registrations in cooperation with the multinationals. This will also give the company a better chance of cooperation with the multinationals. Concerning quality assurance, a secured material supply and advanced Cleaner Production Technics will ensure a stable supply of products with controllable impurities and high melting points that are appropriate for making various kinds of formulations.
The writer of this paper wishes the above market information and business experience to be a useful reference for all pyraclostrobin companies for the development of an overseas market. In the years ahead, pyraclostrobin is expected to become one of the world’s influential products made in China.