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First foreign-funded crop research center opens in China
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Swiss biotech company Syngenta has opened the first foreign-funded crop research organization in China.

The Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co Ltd., in the Zhongguancun Life Science Park, would focus on improving yields and drought resistance of crops like corn and soy, as well as conversion to biofuels.

"China is increasingly recognized for the scale and caliber of its biotech expertise in agriculture," said Wang Xun, president of Syngenta Biotechnology China.

"Now that we have our own research base in Beijing, we can accelerate innovation and offer powerful opportunities to work more closely with Chinese research institutes, which is all the more relevant in a world that sees higher global demand for crops," he said.

Syngenta plans to invest 65 million U.S. dollars (443 million U.S. dollars) in the new center in the next five years.

Syngenta was expanding its partnerships to contribute to further growth in Chinese agriculture with seeds and crop protection technology, said Dr. David Lawrence, head of the Syngenta Research and Development.

Earlier this year, Syngenta took a 49-percent stake in leading Chinese corn seed company Sanbei Seed Co. Ltd., in Hebei Province, he said.

With approximately 9.2 billion U.S. dollars sales in 2007, Syngenta employs 21,000 people in more than 90 countries. It is listed in Switzerland and New York.

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2008)

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