SHANGHAI (Nov. 7, 2:40 p.m. ET) — BASF SE has inaugurated its new Greater China headquarters and Asia Pacific Innovation Campus in the Pudong area of Shanghai. The $55 million expansion marks what the company calls the “most important innovation investment in the region to date.”
In the first phase, the innovation campus will house 450 researchers and developers from 17 regional business units, forming international and multi-disciplinary project teams. It also will help to develop local talent and to foster collaboration with universities and scientific institutes in the region.
At the site, researchers will focus on advanced materials and sustainable solutions. Examples include bio-based polymers for home and personal-care applications, tailor-made binders for waterproofing, thermally conductive plastics for energy-efficient lighting, among others. Additionally, an analytics and material physics team will support the research and development activities.
Further expansion of the facility is planned. The site will ultimately employ more than 2,500 and become one of the company's largest sites outside of Germany, BASF said in a news release.
China is BASF's third-largest market worldwide. The new Greater China head office will include administration, functional units, and sales and marketing for its business units with more than 1,500 work stations, social areas on each floor, and a multi-function theater.
“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 Country Board.
Currently, Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF employs more than 800 people in R&D in the Asia Pacific. By 2020, about the 25 percent of BASF's global R&D headcount will be located in the Asia Pacific, said Martin Brudermueller, vice chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE. He said chemistry-based innovations will play a key role in providing solutions to help the region to meet the challenges of sustainable development.
Globally, more than 10,000 BASF researchers in various disciplines are engaged in about 2,800 research projects at 70 or so R&D centers. In 2011, BASF filed about 1,050 patents worldwide.