U.S. chemical firm Dow expects to start production from its coatings facility in Chengdu this year, according to Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow.
"The western and northwestern regions of China are strategic emerging markets for us. Dow is committed to having a strong presence in these regions to better support existing customers who are moving their businesses from the traditional coastal areas to the inland markets, while addressing the needs of new customers with local markets," said Liveris.
"These are also key regions for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative, and we see strong opportunities for our solutions in infrastructure build-up and industrialization in that region," he added.
Dow has been actively seeking opportunities provided by the Belt and Road Initiative. It opened an office in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2015 to follow the initiative and formed a series of local partnerships to explore opportunities in the region and nearby central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
"We see a number of opportunities stemming from these initiatives, including opportunities to expand into less developed regions within China and unleashing new efforts to support asset investment and productivity," he said.
"For Dow, these efforts allow us to continue to support inter-governmental and cross-industry efforts to bolster sustainable growth in China, especially in key markets aligned with food safety and food security, infrastructure upgrades, energy efficiency and new energy, and environmental protection."
Dow has also been expanding business partnerships with key innovators in China in recent years. It has cooperated with Chinese bicycle-sharing brand Mobike to develop a new innovative and light weight tire since last year.
The two are currently working on materials solutions including polyurethane materials for tires, saddle materials and electric lock seals, as well as other specialty elastomers, adhesives and coatings. Mobike has also started using Dow elastomer materials for bikes in its overseas market since December.
Dow and Mobike signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a suitable business model in November to deliver Dow's high-quality products and solutions to Mobike products and projects via a long-term strategic partnership and cooperation at the product and market level, and the collaboration, said Liveris, will continue.
According to Liveris, Shanghai remains a strong base for local talent for the company, and Dow's Shanghai Dow Center, the business and innovation hub for Dow in Asia-Pacific, is currently Dow's largest integrated R&D center outside of the U.S., housing more than 600 highly skilled scientists working in over 100 world-class laboratories.
"Dow's business is vibrant in China as consumer-driven demand from the emerging middle-income group continues to support sustainable growth," he said.
"Over the years, Dow's business in China has achieved double-digit growth in terms of volume. There is a fantastic synergy between Dow's solutions and the needs of our customers in China, and we are optimistic we will continue our growth momentum."