Japan’s largest steelmaker, Nippon Steel Corp, has joined with Sumitomo Metal Corp to form the world’s second biggest steel maker.

The newly-formed entity, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC), said it aimed to expand its global operations, especially in China, India and other emerging countries, where demand was expected to grow, while consolidating operations in the shrinking Japanese market.

NSSMC has an annual steel production capacity of about 50 million metric tonnes, a distant second behind Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA.

The two companies formed an alliance in 2002, and say they aim to streamline operations to improve their competitiveness amid a shake-up of the global steel industry that has boosted rivals such as China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Corp.

The company says it aims to boost its annual output to as much as 70 million metric tonnes within the next five to 10 years.

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