Business / Companies

Air Liquide opens Shanghai research and tech center

By Wang Hongyi in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-27 10:41

French industrial and medical gas maker Air Liquide opened its fifth global research and technology center in Shanghai on Thursday, expressing confidence in the Chinese market.

The center will become a major base for the company's innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Its work will focus mainly on energy efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, wastewater treatment, urban air quality, food safety and healthcare.

"This new center will allow Chinese customers to benefit from the group's innovative solutions and global innovation network and help tackle environmental and societal challenges," said Benoit Potier, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide.

The center, with an investment of 25 million euros ($27.55 million), covers 12,000 square meters of laboratories, offices, showrooms and pilot demonstration platforms. It will house 250 employees, including researchers, experts in customer applications and business development teams.

The company already operates one center in the United States, two in the Europe and one in Japan.

Over the years, the Chinese market has made a significant contribution to Air Liquide's growth, and in 2015, it achieved a year-on-year double-digit sales growth in gas and service business.

Now China is one of its top five markets in terms of sales.

Annual results show that in 2015, Air Liquide's gas and services revenue from the Asia-Pacific region saw a year-on-year increase of 6 percent, hitting 3.8 billion euros, which accounts for 26 percent of the company's gas and services revenue in 2015. Total gas and services revenue reached 14.7 billion euros in 2015.

Potier said Air Liquide's strategy in China is to pursue growth over the long term, and such growth is based on the country's industrial investments and overall market. The company expects China's industrial gas market to grow at 6 to 8 percent annually.

In 2015, Air Liquide China signed a series of long-term contracts with a number of companies, among them China's leading privately owned copper smelter Shandong Fangyuan Group and Yan'an Energy and Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Yanchang Petroleum Group in Shaanxi province.

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