President of Huntsman Polyurethane Asia-Pacific Region: The complete Asia-Pacific headquarters will be located in Shanghai.

2019-02-27

"Since the mid-1990s, we have been involved in China. In the first factory in China, Minhang Development Zone (Shanghai) was established. Zhang Jun, General Manager of Huntsman Polyurethane Division in China, was introduced at the Huntsman Media Exchange held in Shanghai recently.


Huntsman Group (hereinafter referred to as "Huntsman") was founded in 1970, providing chemicals, plastics, textiles, footwear, paint and paint, building materials and so on. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, the company employs more than 10,000 people worldwide. Huntsman's revenue in 2017 was about $8.358 billion. In September 1992, Huntsman Polyurethane (China) Co., Ltd. was registered with Minhang District Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai.


Sheng Enshan, Director of Huntsman Asia-Pacific R&D Center, introduced that in 1995, a polyurethane system factory was set up in Shanghai, with a total area of more than 8,000 square meters.


In 2006, Huntsman invested in the first MDI polyurethane plant in Caojing, Shanghai. According to Zhang Jun, it should be the first MDI plant invested by all foreign-funded enterprises in China. In 2008, Huntsman relocated the Asia-Pacific R&D center in Singapore to Shanghai, China.


"In 2013, we made a very important decision to concentrate all R&D activities in the Asia-Pacific region on Minhang Development Zone, which we call the Asia-Pacific R&D Center in the North Region. There are now more than 200 people." Sheng Enshan told reporters.

By 2016, Huntsman will relocate the R&D center in Shanghai to Minhang, which will be connected with the previous factories, and set up the Shanghai Park. In 2017, Huntsman's MDI polyurethane plant in Shanghai completed the second phase of expansion, which was officially put into operation in 2018. According to reporters, the second expansion project added 240,000 tons of production capacity, which made Huntsman's total polyurethane production capacity in Shanghai expand to about 400,000 tons.


At present, Huntsman's polyurethane market has a 70-80% share in China. Pan Lumin, president of Huntsman's polyurethane division in Asia-Pacific region, told reporters that the polyurethane produced in Shanghai not only supplies the domestic market, but also exports to the Asia-Pacific region.


In January 2019, Huntsman signed a contract with Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and its Asia-Pacific headquarters was located in Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, Shanghai. So far, Pan said that Huntsman has formed a complete park in Shanghai. Huntsman has three R&D centers in the world. One is Houston R&D center serving the American market at headquarters, the other is Brussels, Belgium, and the other is Shanghai, China.


Since its development in 2008, the R&D center has set up laboratories, machine rooms for pilot testing, test centers and training facilities. In addition, Sheng Enshan told Peng Mei that other business departments have moved to Shanghai, and the R&D center in Shanghai not only does polyurethane research and development, but also does research and development of advanced materials, functional products, textiles and other major businesses.


Sheng Enshan believes that Huntsman has achieved "from scratch" and "from existence to greatness" in Shanghai, and how to achieve "from greatness to strength" in the future is a direction of the R&D center's efforts.


Speaking about the reasons for the relocation of R&D centers, Sheng Enshan told reporters that China's market is the primary driving force, coupled with factories already invested in Shanghai, the relocation of R&D centers can better coordinate with the cooperation of various functional departments. In addition, Sheng Enshan told reporters that a strong talent base is also one of the important factors, other regions do not have such good talent conditions. For R&D centers, the most important resource is people. Huntsman needs more talents in chemistry, analysis, engineering and synthesis.


"We all know that in the past, most of the technology was transferred from Europe, from the United States to China, doing some small localization." Sheng Enshan said, "Many innovations are initiated in China, and then copied from us (Shanghai R&D center).


In view of the company's future expansion in Shanghai, Pan told reporters that Huntsman has invested about 15 billion yuan since he entered China. The management and operation Asia-Pacific headquarters just landed in Shanghai is only the beginning, and will gradually expand into a holding headquarters in the future.


"Now Shanghai has become the most important place in Huntsman's Asian strategy. After that, we may go to Tianjin or other places to make some investment, but our headquarters will definitely be in Shanghai." Pan said.


Regional headquarters and R&D centers of multinational enterprises are accelerating their gathering in Shanghai. In 2019, Shanghai will deepen the implementation of the "100 Rules of Expanding Opening up", improve the promotion mechanism of major foreign investment projects, and accelerate the agglomeration and upgrading functions of regional headquarters and R&D centers of transnational corporations. According to Pengchao News, by the end of January 2019, Shanghai had introduced 674 regional headquarters of multinational corporations, including 90 headquarters in Asia-Pacific region, 362 investment companies and 443 R&D centers.


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