The project reflects the major opportunities offered by this emerging market. The size, sustained dynamic development and overall economic potential of the Chinese market has already pulled in a number of other companies.
"We are seeking to considerably step up our activities in China over the medium term, and are holding extensive talks with a series of Chinese companies in pursuit of this aim," said Professor Utz-Hellmuth Felcht, chairman of the group's management board.
Degussa increased its sales in China in 2003 by 17 per cent to around €280 million. The group currently has 17 companies operating there, and plans in addition to set up a 'multi-user site', where new operations from several different business units are established.
Degussa is also intending to incorporate China into the company's global R&D network, using cooperations with leading Chinese universities.
Degussa has around 3,100 employees working in R&D at more than 50 research locations worldwide. The company spent 347 million euros on R&D in its core business during the past fiscal year, amounting to 3.2 per cent of sales.
Eric Baden, president of Degussa (China), the group's holding company in China, added: "The new centre means Degussa can now pursue specific product developments locally to an even greater extent, and help potential customers become familiar with these developments. This will make it possible to take the special requirements of the Chinese market even better into account."
The new, 6,900-square metre facility houses state-of-the-art laboratories, facilities for marketing and application engineering, and technical after-sales service, among others.