US science group DuPont plans to more than double its investment in China within the next five years, a senior company executive said.
In an interview with China Daily, Tom Powell, corporate vice-president of DuPont, sketched out plans for the company's future activity in China.
"China has been a focus market for DuPont...DuPont is set to make some major strategic investments (in China), among those some have already started or are in negotiations at various stages," he said on Tuesday in Beijing.
Major investments include expansion of a packaging and industrial polymers plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, an integrated fluorochemical manufacturing site in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, and an integrated titanium dioxide manufacturing plant in Dongying, Shandong Province, Powell said.
The titanium dioxide project, which is currently under discussion, will be DuPont's largest ever overseas investment, he said.
DuPont's total investment in China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, has already exceeded US$600 million.
The company runs 38 wholly-owned and joint venture facilities in China, employing 5,300 people.
Powell, also president of DuPont's China operations, told China Daily that DuPont expects to more than double its sales in China in the next five years.
"Thanks to the rapid development of the Chinese economy and society, and the strong local talent base, DuPont has been enjoying healthy business growth in this country and has the momentum for further advancement," he said.
The company's sales in China surged by 32 per cent last year to US$1.4 billion, making the country one of DuPont's fastest-growing regional markets anywhere in the world.
"We will consider a lot of macro factors having impact on our investment plans in China. But issues of China's currency (revaluation of renminbi) and macro economic controls are short-term issues, and our investment plans will not be affected significantly by these short-term issues," he said.
"We look at China in the long term," he added.
China has been taking measures to cool overheating investment in the steel, aluminium, cement and real estate sectors since last year as part of its macro economic controls.
China is also under great pressure from the United States to appreciate the value of renminbi.
But the government has reiterated that there is no timetable for adjusting the foreign exchange rate.
By acquiring and selling a slew of businesses worth US$60 billion over the past seven years, DuPont has transformed itself from being a chemistry and energy company to one focusing on electronics, biotechnology, material science, and the safety and security industries, said Powell.
According to Powell, the company will move more regional business headquarters to the Chinese mainland and speed up career advancement programmes for local talent.
Many of DuPont's leading Asia-Pacific businesses are based in the Chinese mainland, including engineering, sourcing, packaging and industrial polymers companies and imaging technology, he said.
Last year DuPont reported net income of US$1.78 billion from net sales of US$27.3 billion.
(China Daily May 26, 2005)