After breaking ground on two new production plants in Nanjing, Ticona Engineering Polymers plans to create a customer application development center in Shanghai.
Establishing the Shanghai center as a follow-up to the manufacturing plants is an important step in developing the company's presence in China, Ticona Vice President Roeland Polet said.
``The most important thing is creating a product to particular specifications,'' he said. ``There is a lot of specialized work that is going to be done in China.''
The center will be equipped to provide customers with design and material analysis when it is completed in 2008.
``Customers can come to us with a thought in their head and start molding it on a computer,'' he said.
Shanghai, according to Polet, is a great location for the facility due to its proximity to local engineering designers.
Ticona made the decision to open the new China plants and the Shanghai center to follow its already-existing manufacturing clients, many of whom have moved operations to the area.
One plant will be dedicated to the company's GUR-brand ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene, and the other to Celstran, a long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic.
The two plants will strengthen the company's position as the world leader in acetal production, according to Polet.
Ticona also is exploring possibilities for two additional resin and compounding plants for acetal and liquid-crystal polymer. While the company is exploring sites around China, Nanjing remains a particularly attractive location, Polet said.
``Nanjing is a natural fit for us because we have a large complex there,'' he said. ``In the end, it will depend on where our customers are.''
Celanese Corp., Ticona's Dallas-based parent company, already operates an integrated chemical complex in Nanjing.
Ticona expects its first of the two Nanjing plants to become operational in 2008, and it will establish the company on three continents - Europe, America and Asia.
``A lot of our customers have started coming here,'' Polet said of China. ``Now we are pretty much indifferent to where they shift their production. They can move from Flint, Mich., to Germany and we'll be in that market.''