New Corning facility to boost Chinese presence

By Chen Qide (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-11 08:04
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SHANGHAI - Glass and ceramics maker Corning Incorporated is building a facility in Shanghai as part of an investment package of more than $900 million in the country.

The company's capital expenditure plan, which was announced by its board of directors in July, aims to increase the manufacturing capacity in its environmental technology and life sciences segments in China, said Eric Musser, chief executive officer of Corning China.

The move includes three projects to build a $125 million automotive substrate facility in Shanghai, a manufacturing and distribution facility costing about $40 million in Wujiang, Jiangsu province, and a new liquid crystal display glass substrate facility in the Beijing Digital TV Industry Park, which is expected to cost more than $700 million.

The latest move "marks the second expansion of Corning's automotive substrate facility in China and it is another milestone in our commitment to China", Musser said.

"China's emerging economy and the strength of the Asian market are critical to Corning's long-term growth strategy. More than half of our overall revenues are now generated in Asia and China has become the largest market for all our products," he said.

Corning's expansion of its existing light-duty (automotive) substrate manufacturing facility in Shanghai is expected to be operational in the second half of 2012. The company began shipping emissions-control products from the Shanghai facility in 2001 and completed its first plant expansion in 2007.

"The automotive market in China is expected to grow steadily over the next few years," said Thomas Lynch, general manager of Corning Shanghai Co Ltd. "Tighter regulations, including the Euro 4 regulations that were recently adopted by Beijing and Shanghai, are driving the demand for Corning's innovative emissions control products."

He said increasing the light-duty substrate capacity at this facility will help light-duty customers in China and around the world to meet current and future requirements.

"A majority of the products from the facility will be sold locally with a small part sent overseas," Lynch said.

Thomas Hinman, senior vice-president and general manager for Corning's environmental technologies department, said global sales of automobiles will grow steadily over the next several years, outpacing industry expectations.

The growth of auto sales will lead to a very robust business environment for the foreseeable future.

"This production expansion will allow Corning's US and European production facilities to better meet the increased demand for clean-air products as both the North American and European auto markets recover from the recent recession," Hinman said.

Corning has injected an investment of $3 billion in the Chinese market, building on Corning's history in China that spans nearly 30 years. The move reinforces the company's strategy to locate facilities in growth regions, Musser said.

"We remain committed to supporting China's development of key industries through a combination of strategic investments, innovative technologies and values-based market leadership," he said.

China Daily