WACKER, the Munich-based chemical Group, generated sales of €986 million in the Greater China region in 2012, some 4% lower than the previous year (2011: €1.03 billion). The chemical business performed well in 2012, its growth offsetting most of the negative sales impact of lower prices for polysilicon and silicon wafers. With local R&D capability strengthened and continuous investment in downstream production facilities, WACKER’s chemical business is expected to grow further in fiscal 2013.
“China, the Group’s largest market, has a strategic importance for WACKER.” said Mr. Paul Lindblad, president of WACKER Chemicals Greater China. “To keep pace with China’s economic & social development and industrial upgrading, we will reinforce both technology innovation and operational innovation, and make an active contribution to rising living standards and sustainable development in China.”
Over the course of its 20 years in China, WACKER has progressively built up a strong presence that has all the essential components of a full-fledged chemical company, ranging from local R&D to production through to comprehensive customer service. By the end of 2012, WACKER had invested a total of roughly €500 million in the country.
To keep the company growing in the region, WACKER has now boosted its local R&D capability with a new regional headquarters in Shanghai’s Caohejing High-Tech Park.
The new Shanghai Center, commissioned in Q4, 2012, occupies some 10,000 square meters and houses more than a dozen application labs and a new analytical lab. Their purpose is to serve a wide range of industries, such as construction, coatings, personal care and textiles. The center serves as a powerful platform for the silicone and polymer business to develop products and applications for providing localized solutions for the Chinese market. Already, the strengthened local R&D efforts are paying off, with the local R&D team filing its first patent under the name of WACKER Chemicals (China) Co., Ltd, in 2012. The WACKER Shanghai Center also integrates commercial functions, such as marketing, finance, sales and administration, under one roof. Closer collaboration among some 230 technological and commercial professionals in the center will significantly improve WACKER’s overall level of service to local customers.
Aside from investing heavily in R&D, WACKER is continually boosting its local production capability to ensure a rapid response to changes in local market needs and to long-term development in the region.
Last year, WACKER continued to fund its joint venture for the production of silicone raw material in its world-scale integrated silicone manufacturing site in Zhangjiagang. To meet growing demands stemming from rising Chinese living standards, further investment in downstream silicone facilities is currently at the planning stage.
In Nanjing, WACKER expanded its polymers production site and invested in two new production facilities in 2012. A new reactor has been operational since April 2013, supplying the Chinese market with high-quality VAE dispersions for ecologically sound coatings and adhesives. This new facility doubles Nanjing’s dispersions output to approx. 120,000 metric tons per year, a figure that makes the complex one of the biggest of its kind in China. WACKER is also building a new plant to produce polyvinyl acetate solid resins for chewing gum base on the same site. With an annual capacity of 20,000 tons, the new PVAc plant is scheduled to come on stream by the end of this year. The increased capacity will allow WACKER to meet increasing customer demand and to strengthen its position as a leading manufacturer.