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Wacker Chemie AG has officially opened its new company headquarters for the Greater China region (Mainland China and Taiwan) in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Centre, which occupies some 10,000m2, features offices for marketing, sales and administrative functions along with numerous laboratories for R&D and applications technology. Applications range from dry-mix mortars and exterior insulation and finish systems for construction purposes, to paints and coatings, through to products for the automotive, cosmetics and textile sectors. In launching the new research and testing laboratories in collaboration with its customers, Wacker is seeking to expand further its technology leadership in high-quality silicone and polymer products for the Chinese market.
During a press conference in Shanghai in December, CEO Rudolf Staudigl stressed the strategic importance of China as a growth market for Wacker. "The Greater China region has evolved into our single most important market. China is the world’s largest chemical market. We expect Chinese demand for high-quality chemical products to keep rising in the years ahead.”
In 2011, Wacker’s approx 900 employees in China and Taiwan generated sales of €1.03bn or around one-fifth of the Group total. Having operated its own subsidiary in Greater China for 20 years now, Wacker has greatly expanded its activities in the region over recent years. Investments in China to date come to around €400M. This figure is set to exceed €600M in the next four years. Wacker has eight sales offices in the most important economic regions of China, as well as two technical centres and four production sites. The company is currently doubling its dispersions production capacity in Nanjing to 120,000t/yr.
The additional capacity is primarily intended for paints, coatings and adhesives. Wacker is also building a polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) plant there with a production capacity of 20,000t/yr. Both plants are scheduled to come on stream in 2013.
Meanwhile, Wacker has officially launched its new production plant for vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions at its Ulsan site in South Korea. The additional 40,000t from the second reactor line increases the site’s VAE-dispersion capacity to a total of 90,000t/yr. The production capacity of the site has thus almost doubled, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea. Having invested around €10M, the expansion is Wacker’s response to the rising demand for high-quality VAE dispersions, especially in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets.