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October 24, 2011
Volume 89, Number 43
p. 6

European Firms Invest In China

Specialty Chemicals: Companies pursue local research and production

Jean-François Tremblay

A view of Arkema’s Changshu site. Arkema
A view of Arkema’s Changshu site.
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Anticipating continued growth in China, Evonik Industries, Arkema, and BASF have announced new investments in chemical production and R&D in the country.

Evonik will spend $135 million to build plants producing isophorone and isophorone diamine at its main Chinese site in Shanghai’s Xinzhuang district. Isophorone is used in paints and printing inks; its derivative isophorone diamine is used to harden epoxy-based goods such as wind turbines. Earlier this month, the German firm announced an investment of $135 million in a hydrogen peroxide plant in northeast China.

Also in Shanghai, Evonik will invest $25 million to expand its R&D operations in the city. The company will construct a four-story building in the Xinzhuang district that will provide about 110,000 sq ft of additional space. Evonik says the expansion is the third since the R&D center opened in 2004.

Arkema has inaugurated two new plants in Changshu, an industrial city in Jiangsu province about 75 miles from Shanghai. One facility produces fluorinated polymers and the other makes rheology additives. The addition of the plants has made Changshu Arkema’s largest production site worldwide.

And Arkema plans to invest more in Changshu, said CEO Thierry Le Hénaff at an event at the facility. The company will build an R&D center there that will complement a research center in Kyoto, Japan. The French firm also plans to expand its plant in Changshu making the refrigerant hydrofluorocarbon-125.

Meanwhile, at its large site in Nanjing, BASF will build a tert-butylamine plant with an annual production capacity of 10,000 metric tons. Chinese production of the amine, used to make tires and rubber chemicals, will help BASF meet its goal of locally producing 70% of what it sells in the Asia-Pacific region, the company says.

Although China is a major exporter of a wide variety of consumer goods and other products, it remains a large net importer of chemicals. In 2010, the country recorded a chemical trade deficit of $18 billion, according to official statistics.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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