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September 9, 2009

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Unilever opens US$72m center

UNILEVER yesterday opened its first research and development center on China's mainland in Shanghai with an investment of 50 million euros (US$72 million).

The center in Shanghai, Unilever's sixth globally, covers an area of 30,000 square meters in Changning District and houses 450 R&D professionals, of whom 50 are from overseas. The center will actively promote Chinese strengths in traditional Chinese medicine, structured materials and organic chemistry.


"The research center will help drive unique innovations for Unilever globally with China's strong talent base in these areas and facilitate us to be part of the fast growing economy," Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever said yesterday in Shanghai.

"It also reflects the importance of China in Unilever's global strategy."

Emerging markets have generated over 50 percent of corporate's total revenue for the first half of this year while Unilever has shown strong presence with double-digit growth in key markets such as China.

The emerging markets are expected to contribute to as much as 75 percent of total revenue within 15 years with their population and increasing purchasing power, according to the company.

"The fast consumable industry relies heavily on repeated consumption, so market size is important to us. With a population of 1.3 billion, China is a huge potential market, and this is why Unilever attaches priority to it," said Polman.

Unilever is holding a two-day global board meeting in Shanghai starting today with Unilever's long-term plans for 2015 to be the major issue on the agenda.


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