The centre will become the fifth major R&D hub for the France-based specialty chemicals company, adding to the company’s plants in France, America and Brazil.
Rhodia’s Shanghai centre will be dedicated to the Asian market where the company is keen to expand.
In 2007, 27 per cent of Rhodia’s total sales came from the region and the company believes the new Chinese centre will help it achieve its ‘ambitious growth and development objectives’ in the region.
Already the country is at the hub of the company’s regional affairs. Over three quarters of Rhodia’s Asian workforce are employed in China, out of the 22 industrial sites in Asia, 13 are situated within the country.
Strong research team
A 70-strong research team has been created since the centre’s foundations were laid earlier this year.
However, the centre will continue to grow. According to Rhodia, by 2010 it will cover 6,500 square metres and employ a total of 150 researchers.
According to the company, the centre incorporates a ‘pilot hall’ which is designed on a modular basis allowing scientists to take their research to industrial applications as successfully as possible.
The industrial applications focused on by the centre will include developing plastics for the electronics and automotive industries, as well as high performance formulations for the cosmetics and detergents market.
In addition, researchers at the new centre will look at products for low energy consumption lamps based on rare earth elements.