Chemical giant DuPont expands Shanghai R&D center

Updated: 2013-11-05 09:58

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)

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DuPont, the Delaware-based chemical maker, has more than doubled the size of its Shanghai research-and-development center, which will house an additional 150 researchers.

The researchers will focus on new material applications in solar energy, bio-based materials and automotive materials. The center now employs 250 researchers and is at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, one of China’s industrial parks dedicated to tech start-ups and research.

"Science is the engine that drives DuPont," said DuPont Chairman and CEO Ellen Kullman at the Oct 28 opening ceremony for the center’s expansion. "What distinguishes DuPont from other science companies is the depth and breadth of our expertise and how we connect our talent to help solve the challenges of the 21st century."

The Shanghai research facility opened in 2005 and "plays an important role in the company’s global business strategy," delivering research and products to "meet local market needs," DuPont said in a statement. It is one of four major R&D centers outside the US for the company, formally known as E.I. du Pont de Nemours.

Tony Su, DuPont Greater China president, said in a statement that the company sees great growth potential in China, particularly because the Chinese government has been "aggressively implementing the strategy of innovation-driven development at a faster pace."

The expansion will allow more collaboration between the company and local governments and academics in China to find "science-based solutions for a sustainable future," he said.

In addition, "the investment will enable us to better leverage DuPont’s global integrated science capabilities to meet local needs for food, energy and protection," William Provine, director of DuPont science and technology external affairs, told China Daily.

The 16,500 square-meter R&D center was expanded by 17,500 square meters, according to DuPont. The company’s key businesses in China include crop protection, nutrition and health, titanium technologies and chemicals, among others. Its core markets include agricultural chemicals, food and nutrition, industrials and chemicals.

The addition of staff and the expansion of the R&D center follows DuPont’s other expansion in China. In July, the company opened a new probiotic blending and packaging facility in Beijing to cater to the nation’s surging demand for culture products. The country’s quick urbanization pace is driving demand for convenient diets, which include dairy products and meat proteins, and DuPont said it saw potential in that sector of the food industry.

Early in 2012, DuPont signed a multi-year lease agreement with Beijing International Flower Port to build a hub for its seed business that uses molecular breeding expertise to develop high-yield maize hybrids, improving sustainability of farming in China.

"This is a further extension of how DuPont is investing in global science to identify solutions locally," said Bill Niebur, DuPont vice-president, in a statement.