Japanese materials manufacturer Toray Industries will build a new plant to make water treatment membranes in China, doubling its production capacity in a country facing water shortages.

The new plant is estimated to be a 10 billion yen ($89.7 million) investment, and will be built in Foshan, Guangdong Province.

It is to begin producing reverse osmosis membranes in 2021.

The high-performance membranes are in demand in China, where they are used to purify drinking water and to filter impurities from water for industrial use.

Northern China in particular has suffered chronic shortages, and securing clean water is considered crucial not just for daily living but to support economic growth.