Grace expands Asian presence with manufacturing site in China

August 13, 2010|By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

Chemical company W.R. Grace & Co. said Friday it has opened a new manufacturing facility in China as part of its efforts to expand its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region.

The facility, in the city of Chongqing, will manufacture cement additives and concrete admixtures. It will also have a quality-control lab and administrative and personnel offices.

The additives are used by cement producers to improve grinding efficiency and enhance the quality of cement. They are also more environmentally friendly, reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Admixtures improve the quality, strength, durability and appearance of concrete.

Expanding into emerging markets has become a key part of Columbia-based Grace's business strategy. Company executives recently said that one-third of its sales come from emerging regions, including China.

Emerging markets are growing two-and-a-half times as fast as developed regions, and the portion of the company's overall spending on global construction is expected to increase from 37 percent to 45 percent by 2020.

These new markets are rapidly expanding their urban cores, creating new opportunities for Grace. Rising building standards that require sturdier and safer construction practices in these countries are also a factor.

Grace has also recently announced a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, where it has begun manufacturing operations.

The company has four other manufacturing facilities in China — in Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. It also operates a research and development center in Beijing.

The company said that in 1986 it became the first foreign-owned enterprise allowed to conduct business in China when it opened a can sealant manufacturing facility near Shanghai.

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