-- On 6 Nov, BASF inaugurated its first Innovation Campus Asia Pacific and its new Greater China headquarters, at its site in Pudong, on the outskirts of Shanghai, site of jointly owned plants to make MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and TDI (toluene diisocyanate) for the polyurethanes sector.
BASF said this Euro 55-million ($70-million) expansion of the Pudong site marks the company's "most important innovation investment in the region to date."Ultimately employing more than 2500 people, the site will be one of BASF's largest outside of Germany.
"Innovations based on chemistry will play a key role in providing solutions to help Asia Pacific meet the challenges of sustainable development. Through close cooperation with materials scientists, technical experts, business colleagues and customers, BASF will create innovations from Asia, for Asia and the world. By 2020, we expect to have about 25 percent of our global R&D headcount in this region," said Dr Martin Brudermueller, BASF vice chairman, responsible for Asia Pacific, in the group's statement.
"The Innovation Campus Asia Pacific will play a central role to gain local access to customers, talent and innovation centres. I am convinced that the enthusiasm and scientific spirit of our colleagues will cross over to other regions in our BASF Verbund and will be the cornerstone of our growing global scientific network in Asia," said Dr Andreas Kreimeyer, board member for research.
In its first phase, the Innovation Campus will house around 450 researchers and developers in technical teams from 17 regional business units, working in multi-disciplinary groups to form a powerful innovation hub for BASF in Asia Pacific.
The centre will also help development of local research talent and foster collaboration with universities and scientific institutes in Asia Pacific.
At the site, researchers will focus on advanced materials and sustainable solutions. Examples include biobased polymers for home and personal care applications, tailor-made binders for waterproofing in a variety of local climate and weather conditions, advanced polyurethane formulation for shoe components, and thermally conductive plastics for energy-efficient lighting.
"As one of our largest integrated sites, the Pudong site will be a key enabler for collaboration between BASF employees and customers. Additionally, we aim to engage closely with nearby communities and contribute to the development of Shanghai as an international innovation hub," said Johnny Kwan, chairman of BASF Greater China.
BASF says China is its third-largest market worldwide.
At Pudong, as well as the MDI/TDI plants, BASF makes polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF) and polyisocyanate (Basonat) for the coating and furniture finishing industry, as well as precious metal solutions for the automotive catalysts. PolyTHF is the major raw material for the production of spandex fibres, which are mainly used for the manufacturing of sportswear, swimwear and innovative garments.