The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen (left), and Jorma Eloranta, President and CEO of Metso
"This new center strengthens our ability to serve our customers especially in China and Asia Pacific, and confirms our confidence in local market growth. In the Shanghai area we already have several production and customer service units," states Jorma Eloranta, president and CEO of the Metso Group.
Senior officials and Metso senior management celebrate the opening ceremony of Metso Technology Center. From left to right, Pasi Laine, President of Energy and Environmental Technology; Jorma Eloranta, President and CEO, Metso; The President of the Republic of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen; Dai Haibo, Deputy District Head of Pudong New Zone district of Shanghai; Danian Jian, Vice Director of Shanghai Comprehensive Free Trade Zone Administration; Su Rongbin, General Manager of the Shanghai Wai Gaoqiao Company; Zhu Xiangdong, Country Manager, Process Automation Systems, China
A multifunctional premises
The new center, located in Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, comprises multifunctional premises for the total scope of automation solutions, including a valve factory, assembly and supply functions, and an automation systems testing facility.
"In addition to the current facilities, the new center will also have analyzers, measurement devices and laboratories, which will be able to supply a full scope of automation solutions for the paper industry," says Pasi Laine, president of Metso's Energy and Environmental Technology at a press conference on the day.
In addition, the unit houses the local sales, services and product support. The center covers 32,000 square meters.
"The establishment of the Technology Center further strengthens our confidence in selecting Metso as our long-term partner. I sincerely hope that Metso will further realize comprehensive localization and make an even bigger move in energy-efficiency, environmental protection, and sustainable development," said Chen Hongguo, chairman of Shandong Chenming Paper at the ceremony.
Initially, about 300 professionals will work in the technology center. The number of employees is estimated to increase to 650 by 2013
Prior to the new service center in Shanghai, Metso Automation had established service centers in Sorocaba, Brazil (2008) and Mumbai, India (2009). In addition, construction of a new special valves factory - a sister factory to this one - in Finland, has started and will be completed in the first half of 2011.
Shift to emerging markets
Metso's new investment in Shanghai indicates the company's shift in focus from the west to the emerging Asia Pacific market.
"Eight years ago, our Asia Pacific staff accounted for just 4% of our world total and now the figure has jumped to 16%," says Laine, and adds that another market Metso is eyeing is Latin America.
The center is opening at a time when the world economy is improving. "After a severe recession in many parts of the world, the market recovery is now truly gaining momentum, which will help in the marketing of this Technology Center's products," said Eloranta.
The paper industry in Asia, especially in China, seems to have recovered and is gearing up for new expansion amid the Chinese government's setting of higher targets in the close down of outdated and polluting capacity.
"In 2010, investment in the China paper industry is increasing noticeably, in almost all paper grades, except for newsprint. Printing and writing paper, carton board, and especially tissue paper are growing fast," says Zhu Xiangdong, Country Manager, Process Automation Systems, China.
Chen's speech seems to echo the trend. "Chenming has total assets of 30 billion yuan and annual paper production capacity of 4 million tonnes. With the construction of Guangdong, Hubei and Shangdong projects, Chenming will double its size in two or three years," says Chen.