Equipped with a full array of state-of-the-art material analysis and performance testing facilities, the center currently employs 150 scientists, which is expected to rise to 200 by 2020. The majority of the products supported by the new facility will be waterborne and powder-based, in line with the company's ambitions to develop more eco-premium solutions.
"Innovation and locally developed products and solutions are critical to ensuring that we continue to create everyday essentials that make people's lives more liveable and inspiring," said Klaas Kruithof, RD&I director of AkzoNobel's Performance Coatings business. "The opening of this new technology center marks another milestone in the company's organic growth strategy, as we continue to drive our innovation agenda and build a resilient portfolio of more sustainable products."
AkzoNobel invested a total of €347 million in research and development during 2015, with a strong focus on sustainability. The company is also looking to increase its revenue from downstream eco-premium solutions to 20 percent of revenue by 2020. In China, it has already reached 30 percent.
"A key strength of our new technology center is that it is focused on all the company's paints and coatings activities," added Roger Jakeman, RD&I director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints. "This offers major advantages in terms of synergies, efficiency benefits and creating additional value for customers."
Commenting on the inauguration of the new facility – an expansion of an existing AkzoNobel research center in Songjiang – Dr. Lin Liangqi, president of AkzoNobel China and Managing Director of the company's Decorative Paints business in China and North Asia, added: "China accounts for between ten and 15 percent of global RD&I investment annually. With Asia, and especially China, upgrading its manufacturing industry protocols, innovative solutions with strong sustainability features will be key to future success. The new center will therefore play a vital role in supporting manufacturing, as well as future markets, such as solar and wind power."
Deputy Executive of Songjiang District, Wanli Long, also welcomed the opening of the new facility: "We are glad that AkzoNobel is locating such an important research facility in Songjiang," she said. "The new center is an enhancement of our innovation capability."
AkzoNobel employs over 7,500 people in China (including 500 in RD&I), while revenue in China totaled €1.8 billion in 2015. The company operates more than 30 production sites across the country, with RD&I resources allocated to 26 of them to support local customers.