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China's first foreign-funded crop research center opens
Updated: 2008-10-27 15:56

BEIJING -- Swiss biotech company Syngenta has opened a crop research organization in China, the first foreign-funded reserch center on crops in the country.

The Syngenta Biotechnology (China) Co Ltd in the Zhongguancun Life Science Park, would focus on improving yields and drought resistance of crops like corn and soy, as well as conversion to biofuels.

"China is increasingly recognized for the scale and caliber of its biotech expertise in agriculture," said Wang Xun, president of Syngenta Biotechnology China.

"Now that we have our own research base in Beijing, we can accelerate innovation and offer powerful opportunities to work more closely with Chinese research institutes, which is all the more relevant in a world that sees higher global demand for crops, " he said.

Syngenta plans to put $65 million ($443 million) in the new center in the next five years.

Syngenta was expanding its partnerships to contribute to further growth in Chinese agriculture with seeds and crop protection technology, said Dr. David Lawrence, head of the Syngenta Research and Development.

Earlier this year, Syngenta took a 49-percent stake in leading Chinese corn seed company Sanbei Seed Co Ltd in Hebei Province, he said.

With approximately $9.2 billion sales in 2007, Syngenta employs 21,000 people in more than 90 countries. It is listed in Switzerland and New York.