By David Reed, UT EditorLeverkusen, Germany / Shanghai, People's Republic of China-In order to develop its customer relations in China, Bayer MaterialScience AG is establishing its own local distribution network with import and export rights. The aim of this network is to supply customers in China with products manufactured at the new production facilities at the Bayer site in Caojing near Shanghai and in production centres in other regions. Bayer's annual sales in China are expected to increase to $1000 million by 2009, according to a 12 July statement issued by the firm.At the core of this distribution network is Bayer MaterialScience Trading (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer (China) Ltd., which will be operational from 1 Aug. 2005. In the initial phase, four branch offices will be set up in Qingdao, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Beijing. About 100 employees will be transferred from Bayer's existing local businesses to support the trading operations at this early stage."