Rohm and Haas celebrated the official opening of the China Research and Development Center (CRDC) in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, on September 20.

Nearly 300 guests including government officials, customers, board members and executive leaders – and more than 500 Rohm and Haas employees – attended the grand opening ceremony.

Since 1979, Rohm and Haas have invested nearly US$400 million in a dozen operations throughout China, but none of the singular size and scope of the CRDC. In addition to centralising Rohm and Haas’ research and development, customer service, commercial and technical support functions in China, the CRDC also unites much of the company’s Asia-Pacific regional management and shared services team to enhance efficiencies and reduce operating costs. Rohm and Haas chairman, president and chief executive officer Raj L Gupta also stressed that the CRDC represents a new milestone for the company to provide better and faster services to their customers in China and the region.

‘This is a wonderful moment for Rohm and Haas and, we believe, for the people and governments of Shanghai and China. The CRDC is not only a significant investment for our company but a true and sincere symbol of our commitment to the development and support of Asia’s local, national and regional economies’, said Gupta, who invited the entire Rohm and Haas board of directors to Shanghai to launch the centre. ‘The Asia-Pacific Region, and particularly Greater China, represents the greatest opportunity for organic growth across all of our businesses. We welcome the opportunity to get closer to our customers with the primary goal of providing them with the most technically-advanced materials, processes and service, in as time-efficient a manner as possible.’

The site, registered under the name of Rohm and Haas China Holding Co Ltd through the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, is located on 33,000 square meters (over eight acres) in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. The CRDC began construction in June 2005 and now serves as the company’s headquarters for China. It is the company’s second-largest research facility, and the primary research and technical service centre in the Asia-Pacific Region.

With a total anticipated investment of US$60 million, Rohm and Haas spent US$30 million for the first phase of the CRDC. Two buildings (totaling 25,000 square meters or 269,000 sq ft) are connected to form a C-shaped structure, which currently houses more than 500 employees relocated from four existing facilities in the Shanghai area. In addition to state-of-the-art laboratory and technical service facilities, the CRDC features world-class conference and training facilities and administrative office space. On-site personnel include researchers, technical service, commercial, functional and other administrative employees. In later phases, the CRDC site can accommodate up to 1,500 employees.

At the ceremony, Gupta also officially announced the establishment of the Rohm and Haas China Holding Company, which provides the company with greater financing and negotiating powers, efficient capital management and greater standing among governmental officials. Holding-company status is relatively rare among multinational companies in China; approximately 200 have earned the distinction. Because of its singular investment value, construction of the CRDC enabled Rohm and Haas to apply for holding company status.

‘The CRDC is a significant global opportunity and achievement for technological excellence at Rohm and Haas and one that will enable us to hire and professionally cultivate local scientists, technicians and engineers to support regional governments and optimally serve our customers’, said Gary S Calabrese, vice president and chief technology officer for Rohm and Haas Company. ‘Having two world-class research facilities on opposite ends of the globe provides us with a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with our most valued customers. This is truly an investment that will benefit all of the stakeholders at Rohm and Haas from investors, to customers, to communities, to employees.’