Global firms strengthen innovation capabilities in Shanghai
Shanghai, a well-established destination for investment from home and abroad, is confident to ride the waves of a rising city to attract more quality investment with better policies and services.
The news that Swiss engineering group ABB's robotics Factory of the Future in Shanghai is expected to open in the coming months – has reaffirmed global companies' confidence in the city despite the impact of the COVID pandemic.
Eying the great market potential, transnational companies are making localized strategies to expand their business scope and innovation capabilities.
The plant, costing an estimated US$150 million, aims to support the advancement of Shanghai's high-end manufacturing, the development of the city as a science and technology innovation center, and the promotion of the city's growth and core competitiveness.
Construction of the 60,000-square-meter plant and research hub began in September 2019 in the Pudong New Area.
Deploying the latest manufacturing processes, including machine-learning and digital and collaborative solutions, the mega plant will use robots to make robots and have an annual capacity of 10,000 units.
ABB was among the first group of multinational companies recognized by the Shanghai government for establishing their regional headquarters, technology innovation and R&D centers here.
On June 15, B&R, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABB Group, was awarded the certificate of MNC's Regional headquarters by the Shanghai government.
"The establishment of our regional headquarters shows the great importance ABB attaches to China's economic development," said Dr Xiao Weirong, managing director of ABB B&R China region.
"Shanghai's sound business environment, talent intensity, and smooth supply chain system as well as its responsive officials are the sources of our continuous confidence to expand investment here."
BASF, a committed partner to China
Chemical giant BASF said it will further enhance its innovation capabilities in China by completing the third phase of its Innovation Campus Shanghai, the company's largest research and development (R&D) site in Asia Pacific.
The third phase of BASF Innovation Campus is due to be completed in early 2023. The total investment of the campus will sum up to around 280 million euros (US$287 million).
Located at the BASF Shanghai Pudong Innovation Park, the campus was inaugurated in 2012 and expanded in 2015 and 2019. It has evolved into an innovation powerhouse for BASF and its partners.
The chemical company posted sales of approximately 12 billion euros in China in 2021 and employed 11,070 people as of the end of last year, according to its latest financial report.
BASF has been a committed partner to China since 1885. With large production sites in Shanghai, Nanjing and Chongqing, as well as Innovation Campus Shanghai, BASF is a major foreign investor in the country's chemical industry.
China's carbon pledge
In addition to its vast market potential, China's pledge to cap carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 has attracted active participation from global giants, and Honeywell is one of them.
Last August, the industrial and aerospace firm set up a Shanghai-based low-carbon center under the Honeywell China Sustainability Research Institute.
While focusing on the research of low-carbon technology and market demand, the center also seeks to help its local customers achieve sustainable development.
A recent case is that Sinopharm Shanghai Biomedical Co, a subsidiary of the China National Pharmaceutical Group Co (Sinopharm), adopted the Honeywell Solstice N40 (R-448A) refrigerant.
The energy efficient, low global-warming solution will be used for cold storage of Sinopharm vaccines used in Shanghai, including the company's COVID-19 vaccine.
In February, Honeywell teamed up with Chinese firm Oriental Energy Co to build the world's largest sustainable aviation fuel production facility in Guangdong Province.
With its East-for-East, East-to-Rest strategies, Honeywell said it will continue to enhance its R&D and production capabilities in China, and take solutions developed here to overseas markets.
3M here for the long haul
"China is a strategically important long-term market for 3M and we will continue to invest in local manufacturing, R&D capabilities, and in our local talent," Henry Ding, senior vice president of 3M and president of 3M China told Shanghai Daily in a written interview.
The US technology conglomerate, for instance, is ramping up construction of a new structural adhesive testing lab in Jinshan, Shanghai, which is expected to begin operations this year.
The move follows its efforts to double production of structural adhesives at its factory in Jinshan just the last year.
Even amid the city's recent COVID-19 outbreak, 3M said it had launched a US$50-million project to set up a new tape production line and a new converting center at its plant in Shanghai.
Scheduled to begin operation in 2024, the investment will bring great value for its local customers in the electronics and automotive industries, according to the firm.
3M started its business in China in 1984 as the first wholly-owned foreign enterprise. Now, Shanghai is home to one of 3M's four global research centers, and four of its manufacturing plants.
Shanghai, with its solid industrial foundation and profound resources, has almost full coverage of the whole industrial chain, which provides great convenience for a high-tech company like 3M to find partners, Ding added.
Bosch Group's largest single market
As Shanghai strives to build itself into a global sci-tech innovation hub, it is becoming even more attractive to old friends like Bosch, one of Germany's leading component manufacturers.
After being active in the country for over a century, the firm now has more than one fifth of its global sales generated in China.
For past year, the global supplier of technology and services reported revenue of 128.6 billion yuan (US$19 billion) in the world's second largest economy, up 9.6 percent year on year.
"China remains the largest single market for the Bosch Group," said Dr Stefan Hartung, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.
To tap future long-term potential, Bosch will continue to develop local expertise in China, especially in strategic growth areas such as electrification, hydrogen, fuel cells, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, he said.
As part of its long-term commitment, around 4,000 positions will be opened up this year, said Chen Yudong, president of Bosch China.