Arnhem, the Netherlands, September 27, 2001 – Today, Rudy van der Meer, Member of the Akzo Nobel Board of Management responsible for Coatings, opened a new production site in Suzhou, near Shanghai in China. The facility, which was built over the past year, will house three of Akzo Nobel’s core businesses: car refinishes, powder coatings and transportation coatings and will give these businesses enhanced access to the rapidly expanding Chinese market.
“Akzo Nobel has been active in China since the 1980s, but business really got off the ground at the beginning of the 1990s when the Board of Management asked the business units to focus more on Asia and China in particular. In addition, Akzo Nobel China was set up as a country organization to support our business units and to facilitate their local development,” said Rudy van der Meer at a press conference during the opening. “In the past five years, our sales in the country have quadrupled to EUR 300 million, stemming from both organic growth and acquisitions. Akzo Nobel now employs 1,500 people in China.”
In China, Akzo Nobel currently has 15 operations, including 10 production facilities, representing its three areas of business: Pharma, Coatings and Chemicals. One major operation is a 50-50 joint venture; all other operations are majority or wholly-owned. The Suzhou site opened today, and a Wood Coatings plant in Dongguan City, which will be opened shortly, are 100% Akzo Nobel facilities. The monochloroacetic acid plant under construction in Taixing is also wholly-owned.
“These investments aim to strengthen our position in China and will enable us to respond quickly and flexibly to market demands,” added Mr. Van der Meer. “The facilities will serve as a platform for further expansion in the region. It is one of Akzo Nobel’s stated strategic goals to increase our market share in the fast growing Asian economies, and we consider China a key market.”