Top Steelmakers 2010


China’s ten-year rapid rise to ascendancy

Ten years ago, when Metal Bulletin published its Top Steelmakers list for 2000, China’s rise to become the dominant force in the global steel industry had barely begun, and was hardly anticipated.

Only two Chinese steelmakers – Baosteel and Anshan Steel – featured in the top ten. There were only five in the top 50, and the combined output of all Chinese mills on the list was less than 10% of global output.

In the accompanying text for the Top Steelmakers of 2000, China’s steelmakers merited a single sentence, referring to the entry of two new steelmakers near the bottom of the list.

We decided that seeing the figures for another year ending in a zero was a good opportunity to look back at how our list – which ranks all steelmakers with crude steel output higher than 2 million tonnes in the previous year – has changed since the start of the century.

Consolidation in mature economies and the proliferation of steelmakers in China has created a list dominated by Chinese steelmakers.

Led by the world’s no 2 Hebei Steel, with 52.86 million tonnes of output, China’s steelmakers occupy five of the top ten places and, for the first time, half of the top 20.

Of the 116 steelmakers that made the 2 million-tonne cut, nearly half – 57 – were from China. And their combined output was 514.39 million tonnes, more than half of global output.

This reflects not only the ballooning of steel production in China, but the relative failure – according to its own goals – of the Chinese industry to consolidate. The result is dozens of mid-sized steelmakers from all parts of China crowding the middle of the world rankings table.

There have again been some signs of progress, with the top five Chinese steelmakers – Hebei Steel, Baosteel, Wuhan Steel, Shagang, and Shougang – accounting for 37% of Chinese production on the list, against one-third in 2009.

Two Chinese producers – Benxi Steel and Anyang – exceeded
10 million tonnes last year, bringing the number of Chinese mills above that threshold – considered important in China – to 12.

In 2001, we wrote in passing of China’s steel policymakers wanting to "concentrate production on fewer, larger sites". They are still trying: maybe we’ll check up on progress again in 2021.


The notable movers of 2010

There was little remarkable in the 2010 Top Steelmakers list, when compared with 2009.

ArcelorMittal extended its dominance at the top of the rankings, raising output by around 24% to 90.5 million tonnes.

Among the notable movers were Ukraine’s Metinvest, which took over the Ilyich mill, also in Ukraine, and produced 13.83 million tonnes, moving to no 23 from no 38 in the rankings.

South Korea’s Hyundai Steel benefits from the output of its new blast furnace works; its output rose by more than half to 52.78 million tonnes, putting the company at no.26.

US Steel made a big jump, which was perhaps more reflective of the depths it plummeted to in 2009 than anything else. Its output rose 46% to 22.26 million tonnes.

In China, Shougang’s new Caofeidian greenfield works in Hebei province helped it boost output by nearly half to 25.84 million tonnes, putting it in China’s top five.

One major change either next year or the year after could be in Japan, where Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries plan a merger. Based on last year’s figures, a unified company would produce 49.24 million tonnes, propelling it to third place.

Top Steelmakers 2000


Output in tonnes (million)





Arbed Group


LNM Group


















US Steel




China Steel








Bethlehem Steel





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