DALIAN, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Dow, a U.S. materials science giant, said its expanding investment in the Chinese market sent a "strong message" of the company's commitment to being in China.
"The Chinese market has become increasingly important to us. It is our second largest market. We believe it will soon become the number one market and continue to grow," said Jon Penrice, Asia Pacific president of Dow, which has been operating in China for 40 years, witnessing and benefitting from the country's economic growth.
Dow last month broke ground for a new specialty silicone resin line in Zhangjiagang, the third new line it invested in the past three years, to meet growing needs for high-performance materials from segments including transportation, home and personal care and consumer electronics.
"The message of investment is clear as we need to respond to the needs of consumers, but it also sends a strong message of our commitment to being in China," Penrice said in an interview with Xinhua during the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, in the city of Dalian.
"As China sets its strategy focusing on growth based on quality and innovation, we see tremendous opportunities brought by the change," Penrice said.
Besides being a strategic market and manufacturing hub for Dow, he said China is also an innovation center for the company.
Dow now has nine manufacturing sites, 10 offices and more than 3,000 employees in China. Acknowledging the vast talent resources and seeking to further tap into the market, Dow in 2009 opened the Shanghai Dow Center, its largest integrated R&D center outside the United States.
Penrice ticked up speed as the biggest challenge facing Dow in the Chinese market. "The challenge is how do we keep up with the speed of development in China," he said.
Because of digitalization, "new product development timelines are shortening while innovation timelines are getting tighter. We have to develop new products in a faster way," he said, calling the challenge "a good problem to have."