Many guests - including key customers, government officials, international media and the company's entire Board of Management - attended the event, which attracted huge interest and further emphasized the importance of high growth markets to AkzoNobel's strategic ambitions.
"We recently announced our medium-term Value and Values ambitions, which include achieving total revenue of €20 billion and doubling revenue in China," said AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers. "Today's inauguration underlines the fundamental role new investment will play in those growth ambitions and shows how committed we are to expanding organically in the exciting and vibrant Chinese market."
Occupying a 50-hectare plot, the company's Functional Chemicals business is already producing chelates in Ningbo. The same business also plans to start up new ethylene amines and ethylene oxide factories at the site before the end of the year, with an organic peroxides facility due to come on stream in 2011. The products produced in Ningbo will serve a number of markets including the building and construction, cleaning and detergents, food preservation, oil, personal care and pulp industries.
Acknowledging the support of the Ningbo government and local authorities, Wijers continued: "As well as boosting local production and enabling us to better serve our growing customer base in the region, the Ningbo facility signals our determination to continue offering leading technology and cutting-edge product development in factories built to the highest standards of sustainable operation."
AkzoNobel currently employs around 6,500 people in China, with revenue for 2009 totaling €1 billion. The majority of revenue is generated from local demand. The company now has 27 manufacturing locations in China.