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Rhodia starts R&D project
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French chemical firm Rhodia yesterday launched its global R&D center project in the city's Xinzhuang Industrial Zone.

"We have set up 18 operations in Asia, including 13 in China, but we have no R&D facility to serve them," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chairman and CEO of Rhodia.

The center, costing 6.5 million euros in investment, contains 3,000 sq m of additional laboratories to reinforce Rhodia's Shanghai position as one of its five major R&D centers.

The other four include one in France, one in Brazil and two in the United States.

Pascal Metivier, R&D director for Rhodia in Asia-Pacific, said the new R&D center will target the Asian market, particularly in the automotive, electronics, home, personal care, oilfield and agricultural formulation fields.

Metivier said the focus will be supporting the fast growth of Rhodia's industrial operations in China and the Asian region with its expertise in chemical engineering and process improvement.

"The new facility will allow Rhodia to shape its future in the zone, giving our regional teams the ability to develop new products and technologies targeted at our Asian and Chinese customers," said Clamadieu.

Metivier said space has been kept for further expansion of the center, if needed. "The launch of the Shanghai center completes Rhodia's master plan to establish a globally recognized R&D system."

It will be a recognized research and technology center hosting 150 scientists by the end of 2008 to provide technical support to customers and plants, he said.

Eighty percent of the center's work will go toward supporting Rhodia's companies in China, and the rest for those in South Korea, Japan, India and Thailand.

Rhodia achieved a sales figure of 1 billion euros in Asia last year, which will be doubled within five years, said Metivier.

(China Daily April 23, 2008)

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