Bayer MaterialScience have established their Global Footwear Competence Center (GFCC) in Shanghai, China, where it will spearhead the development of advanced materials and provide technical support to the global footwear industry.

Peter Vanacker, head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit of Bayer MaterialScience, explained that this decision reflects the importance of China as a global footwear production powerhouse, and Bayer’s commitment to provide expert and customised technical support close to its customers.

‘China accounts for more than 60% of global footwear production. In 2005, more than 7 billion pairs of shoes were made in China, which is more than one pair of shoes for every person on the planet,’ Vanacker said. ‘In addition, the footwear industry has to be very closely aligned with changing fashion and lifestyle requirements. This requires very short development and response times, and, therefore, we see the need to be located close to both our customers and the market.’

The GFCC is situated within Bayer MaterialScience’s Polymer Research and Development Center located at the Jinqiao Industrial Processing Zone in Shanghai. It is equipped with the most advanced footwear-related facilities. These include injection-molding machines for both polyurethane and thermoplastic polyurethane applications, casting machines as well as a pre-polymer and polyol formulation pilot plant.