By Liz White, UT contributing editorShanghai, China-BASF AG is to invest in a new polyurethane specialities site at Pudong, Shanghai, which will include asystems house, a TPU production unit and a technical research and development centre. The facility will carry out product development work for the rapidly expanding Chinese market, which in polyurethanes is expected to grow by about 10 percent a year in the next decade, becoming the world's largest market by 2015, said a 31 Aug announcement from BASF. Production of systems and TPUs tailored to the needs of Chinese customers at Pudong is scheduled to start in early 2007. Approval for the project is currently being sought from the authorities in Shanghai and construction should start next year, the statement said. Financial details of the investment were not revealed. BASF will operate the unit via a new company, BASF Polyurethanes Specialties (China) Co. Ltd. Raw materials-MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and TDI (toluene diisocyanate)-will be supplied from Caojing, Shanghai, where, BASF and its partners plan to start up a world-scale plant in 2006."Following the investment in MDI and TDI we are now taking the logical second step to further expand our position in polyurethanes in the Chinese market," said Jean-Pierre Dhanis, president of BASF's Polyurethanes division, in the company statement. "In the future, we will be able to supply our customers in the region with locally produced polyurethane basic products and specialties from a single source," Dhanis continued. "