AkzoNobel will seek to double its current revenue in China within five years—to $3 billion in annual sales by 2015—the company’s CEO said recently during remarks at the Shanghai World Expo.
“The importance of Asia, particularly China, has long been emphasized by our company and we are committed to expanding in the region, as recent investments have shown,” CEO Hans Wijers said. “Not only is China an important growth engine, but it is also rapidly establishing itself as a great center of innovation. It’s moving from ‘made in China, via developed in China, to innovated in China,’ and we believe it will become a global powerhouse for science, technology and invention. AkzoNobel wants to make its contribution to that journey.”
AkzoNobel currently employs approximately 6,500 people in China, and the country hosts 11% of the company's R&D resources; revenue for 2009 totaled $1.5 billion.
China will play an integral role in AkzoNobel’s strategic focus on the world's growth regions, Wijers said, speaking during the presentation of the AkzoNobel Science Awards. Wijers cited the company’s new 275-million-euro Ningbo site and recent investments in new laboratory facilities as examples of the company’s ambitions in China. Attracting the right talent, he said, would also be extremely important.
The Ningbo site, which has already started production of chelates, will be officially opened in November. Recent expansions include the 2008 opening of a site for the manufacture of protective coatings at Suzhou. In all, the company operates 25 manufacturing facilities in China.
“The investments we are making will fuel our accelerated growth in China and beyond,” Wijers said. “Enhancing our technological capabilities in China is crucial if we are to realize our growth ambitions. As the world's largest coatings and specialty-chemicals company, we are determined to continue leading technology and product development and successfully bring new products to market via our global brands such as Dulux, International and Eka.”
The AkzoNobel Science Awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions by individuals in the fields of chemistry and materials science. First presented in the Netherlands in 1970—when it was known as the Akzo Prize—the presentation of the award was extended to Sweden in 1999, when it was re-named the AkzoNobel Science Award.
The awards program has recently been extended to China, to reflect the global nature of the company and in particular its growing presence in Asia, AkzoNobel said. The awards are now presented in The Netherlands and Sweden in alternate years and in China every other year. The Chinese Chemical Society serves as AkzoNobel’s partner in presenting the awards.
The 2010 Science Awards in China were presented to:
• Xi Zhang, professor of Chemistry at Tsinghua University for his work in the areas of supramolecular assembly, polymer thin films and single-molecule atomic force microscopy of polymers;
• Yanlin Song, professor at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for his work in the areas of organic high-density data storage materials, manufacturing and application of polymeric photonic crystals, and sustainable printing materials and technology; and
• Chunhua Yan, professor at The State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Materials Chemistry and Applications, Peking University, for his research on the sustainable synthesis and extractive processing of rare-earth functional nanomaterials and the understanding of their structure-property relationships.