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Chem park posts little growth

THE Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, home to major global firms such as BP Plc and Bayer AG, posted nearly zero growth in 2008 sales due to falling product prices and weak demand amid an economic downturn.

Still, the park aims to grow by double digits this year and expects new investments to remain high as most investors are still optimistic about China's chemical market.

Sales totaled 51.54 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) last year, data released yesterday showed, only slightly up from 51.13 billion yuan in 2007 when they jumped 48.7 percent. The park sees sales to grow 10.3 percent to 57 billion yuan this year.

Fixed-asset investment at the park, some 50 kilometers southwest of downtown Shanghai, totaled 8.1 billion yuan in 2008 or 35 percent above its target. The park authorities forecast 8.5 billion yuan worth of FAI this year. The park also aims to attract new investment of US$3.5 billion this year, only slightly lower than last year's record high of US$3.74 billion.

"So far, lots of companies still favor the China market and said they would stick to their plans to invest in the park," said Zhang Yaolun, general manager of SCIP Development Co which runs the park.

Zhang, also the director of the park's administration commission, said multinational firms including Dow Chemical Co of the United States and Germany's Evonik Degussa have shown clear intentions to invest or raise investment at SCIP.

Another key task for SCIP is to help Sinopec Corp win government approval for its US$2.5 billion refining project within the year. Zhang said construction of the 12-million-ton-a-year project could start as soon as it gets the go-ahead.


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