"The importance of Asia, particularly China, has long been emphasized by our company and we are committed to expanding in the region, as recent investments have shown," said AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers. "Not only is China an important growth engine, but it is also rapidly establishing itself as a great center of innovation. It's moving from made in China, via developed in China to innovated in China, and we believe it will become a global powerhouse for science, technology and invention. AkzoNobel wants to make its' contribution to that journey."
Speaking during the presentation of the AkzoNobel Science Awards at the Shanghai World Expo, Wijers went on to highlight the new €275 million Ningbo site and recent investments in new laboratory facilities as prime examples of the company's ambitions in a country which is destined to become the most innovative in the world. Attracting the right talent, he added, would also be extremely important.
"The investments we are making will fuel our accelerated growth in China and beyond," continued the CEO. "Enhancing our technological capabilities in China is crucial if we are to realize our growth ambitions. As the world's largest coatings and specialty chemicals company, we are determined to continue leading technology and product development and successfully bring new products to market via our global brands such as Dulux, International and Eka."
The AkzoNobel Science Awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions by individuals in the fields of chemistry and materials science. First bestowed in the Netherlands in 1970 when it was known as the Akzo Prize, the presentation of the award was extended to Sweden in 1999, when it was renamed the AkzoNobel Science Award. To reflect the global nature of the company and in particular its growing presence in Asia, the presentation of the honor has recently been further extended to China. The AkzoNobel Science Awards are now handed out in the Netherlands and Sweden in alternate years and in China every other year.
AkzoNobel currently employs around 6,500 people in China, with the country hosting 11 percent of the company's R&D resources. Revenue for 2009 totaled $1.5 billion. The Ningbo site, which has already started production of chelates, will be officially opened in November.