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Rohm and Haas Company celebrates ground breaking for New China Research & Development Center

Rohm & Haas Co : 18 June, 2006  (Company News)
Rohm and Haas Company today celebrated the official ground breaking for its new China Research and Development Center in Shanghai. Located on 33,000 square meters (over eight acres) in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong New Area, the world class facility will serve as the company's primary research and technical service headquarters for China and the Asia-Pacific region.
'This is an exciting and incredibly important day for our company, our customers, and the more than 1,000 Rohm and Haas employees working in China and the surrounding regions,' said Raj L. Gupta, chairman and chief executive officer of Rohm and Haas Company. 'For nearly 100 years, creative chemistry and the innovative spirit of Rohm and Haas researchers have delivered amazing technologies and products serving hundreds of markets. With next year's opening, this new research and development center will mark our ongoing commitment to serving a rapidly growing customer base in the Asia-Pacific region,' Gupta said.

Nearly 200 guests attended the event, including government officials from Shanghai, Pudong New Area and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. Other dignitaries included officials from the People's Republic of China Ministry of Science and Technology and the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, managers from Shanghai Zhangjiang (Group) Co., Ltd., representatives from customers and neighboring companies, and Rohm and Haas employees and executives from around the world.

Dr. Gary Calabrese, Rohm and Haas vice president and chief technology officer, noted the importance of consolidating research under one facility. 'Providing our scientists, engineers, and technical service professionals with first class facilities as we ramp up our research activities in China has been a priority,' he said. 'But equally important is bringing not only researchers from different businesses together under one roof, but also having marketing and sales employees located at the same center. We typically see a broader set of ideas for new products and more creative solutions to difficult challenges when our research and commercial employees are co-located.'

Rohm and Haas's new China Research and Development Center will include two buildings: a four story research facility and a four story administration building. Modern laboratory space, which will feature state-of-the-art equipment and air handling systems, will be highly flexible to meet future research needs. Meeting and conference rooms, a training center, and offices will be located in the administration building, which will also serve as the site's main entrance. Both buildings will be shaped in a 'C' surrounding a landscaped internal garden. The garden will capture the spirit of traditional Chinese landscape design, but interpreted with modern materials.

The new site will initially employ about 350 Rohm and Haas researchers, technical service personnel, commercial and sales professionals and functional staff. It has the flexibility to grow with at least one additional multipurpose building for R&D, technical service, customer service and commercial offices. The initial 350 employees will be relocated from other Rohm and Haas facilities throughout Shanghai, but the site is capable of employing up to 1,500 employees. Rohm and Haas will invest $30 million (U.S.) initially, although the total project is estimated at up to $60 million (U.S.) if long-term growth necessitates site expansion.

Sam Shoemaker, Asia-Pacific regional director for Rohm and Haas and president of Circuit Board Technologies for Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials, said the investment is important for the company to grow its presence in the region and to more quickly develop and commercialize products that meet the needs of local and regional customers. 'From our initial, rather modest facility that opened in Hong Kong in 1979 through today, we've seen steady, and sometimes remarkable, demand for Rohm and Haas's specialty materials used in electronics, coatings, adhesives, personal care products, purification, and plastics, to name just a few. As customers continue to look for advanced technologies, having the infrastructure on the ground in this region is critical to anticipate and quickly respond to unique needs. When the new center opens in a year, it'll mark a giant step in rapidly growing our presence and product offerings in China,' he said.
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