Once completed in June 2015, the new development and application center will add capability and capacity to serve growing demand throughout Asia for innovative solutions targeted at the packaging, coil, specialty finishes and powder coatings markets.
The extension will also double the number of people working in R&D at Songjiang (to around 200) over the next couple of years. When fully operational, the new laboratory will be Performance Coating's second largest research and development base after Felling in the UK.
"Boosting our R&D capabilities in Asia means we can accelerate the development and formulation of new products tailor-made for the Asian market," said Conrad Keijzer, AkzoNobel's Executive Committee member responsible for Performance Coatings. "The expanded R&D center will therefore play a crucial role in supporting our growth ambitions - for China in particular - and will provide us with a major innovation facility located close to our customers in the region."
RD&I Director for Performance Coatings, Klaas Kruithof, added that the new center will also drive efficiency by further consolidating the company's R&D footprint. "Expanding the existing facility will enable ongoing research and development activities for powder coatings to be transferred from Ningbo," he explained. "It will also be capable of accommodating R&D activities for Decorative Paints and the company's Surface Chemistry business."
Strategically positioned in the greater Shanghai area, the Songjiang site was recently expanded to create one of AkzoNobel's biggest resin plants for performance coatings in the world. In total, around 300 people are currently employed at the location.
With operations spread across the country, AkzoNobel employs more than 7,400 people in China, including 500 in R&D. In 2013, the company generated revenues in China of €1.6 billion, the majority coming from local demand.