Bayer beefs up presence in China's coatings sector


BAYER MaterialScience is boosting its presence in China as demand for coatings is surging here and the government has pledged to support the use of eco-friendly coatings.

The chemicals unit of German conglomerate Bayer AG has recently moved its regional headquarters for its coatings, adhesive and specialty business to Shanghai and plans to move anther R&D unit focused on technology developments in Asia Pacific to the city, said Samir Hifri, senior vice president of Bayer MaterialScience Asia Pacific.

China's coatings industry, already the world's largest producer, is expected to grow by 10 percent annually during the 2010-2015 period on rising demand from construction, renewable energy, automobile and home appliances industries, according to industry forecast.

"We invest before the market is there," Hifri said at ChinaCoat 2011, a three-day coating trade fair which opened yesterday in Shanghai. His company is showing some latest solutions and water-based innovations.

Bayer MaterialScience supplies solutions to coatings manufacturers and is the inventor of the waterborne polyurethane coating technology, which can reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds -- chemicals dangerous to human health and harmful to the environment.

Hifri said Bayer is optimistic about mid- and long-term market development in China, citing the "strong fundamentals" of the domestic market, though the company is cautious about short-term situation as slowing economy in Europe and the US has hurt Chinese exports.

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