Sodium hydrosulfite, commonly known as sodium dithionite, is a crystalline white powder. It is stable under normal conditions and decomposes either in acidic conditions or in contact with hot water. Sodium hydrosulfite is manufactured by different processes such as zinc dust process, amalgam process, and formate process. These three processes are primarily used to manufacture sodium hydrosulfite. Furthermore, zinc dust and amalgam processes accounted for almost 80% of the global production in 2014. All applications of sodium hydrosulfite are due to its superior reducing ability. Sodium hydrosulfite offers reducing properties in acidic medium and heated atmosphere.

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Sodium hydrosulfite is widely used for bleaching purposes in the paper & pulp industry, textile processing, mineral ore flotation, kaolin bleaching, pharmaceuticals, and food additives. However, it is primarily used in textile and wood pulp bleaching applications. Textile and wood pulp bleaching applications cumulatively held market share of over 80% of the sodium hydrosulfite market in 2014. Sodium hydrosulfite is used as a reducing agent as well as a reducing bleaching agent in fabrics such as nylon, wool, and cotton in the textile industry. Furthermore, sodium hydrosulfite is employed for stripping of color from fabrics. It is also used in the reduction clearing process for disperse dyes. It is used in wood pulp bleaching to brighten pulp with lower yield loss in the paper industry. It is used as a bleaching agent for mechanical pulp bleaching in the paper & pulp industry.

Textile processing and wood pulp bleaching are primarily responsible for boosting demand for sodium hydrosulfite. Furthermore, the market dynamics of these applications affect the global market for sodium hydrosulfite. Demand for textile products, particularly apparel, has increased across the world, which has resulted in rise in demand for sodium hydrosulfite globally. In terms of demand, Asia Pacific, being the textile manufacturing hub of the world, held the largest share of the sodium hydrosulfite market in 2014. The paper and pulp industry, on the other hand, has struggled to keep pace with rapid global digitalization. Hence, steady decline in demand for paper and paper products has been witnessed in North America and Europe. However, the market in Asia Pacific and Latin America is expected to expand at a decent pace during the forecast period. Application in cosmetics, particularly hair care products, and kaolin bleaching is likely to provide attractive growth opportunities for the sodium hydrosulfite market in the near future.

Asia Pacific is the major producer and consumer of sodium hydrosulfite, accounting for over 65% share of the global market by demand in 2014. China is primarily driving demand for sodium hydrosulfite in this region. Apart from China, major textile producing countries such as Japan, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan account for considerable share. The market in Asia Pacific is also projected to exhibit the fastest growth rate, expanding at a CAGR of more than 4% between 2015 and 2023. Textile processing is the primary application in Asia Pacific. On the other hand, wood pulp bleaching application dominates demand in North America and Europe. The market share of North America and Europe is estimated to decline during the forecast period due to gradual slowdown in the paper economy in these regions.

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The global sodium hydrosulfite market is consolidated in nature with four manufacturers accounting for over 50% share. Companies such as Guangdong ZhongCheng Chemicals Inc., Ltd., BASF SE, Jinhe Group, and AZ Chemicals, Inc., held significant share of the global sodium hydrosulfite market in 2014. Other key companies include Chemtrade Logistics, Inc., Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc., and BruggemannChemical.