ARNHEM, The Netherlands — Akzo Nobel announced the start of construction of two new coatings-manufacturing facilities in China, and said the facilities will supply industrial, transportation and refinish products for the Chinese market.

A site at Suzhou, near Shanghai, will house manufacturing operations for three of Akzo Nobel’s core coatings businesses — auto refinishes, powder coatings and transportation coatings. The other site, at Dongguan City between Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, will initially produce industrial wood coatings, with other industrial-coatings manufacturing activities to follow, the company said. Completion of both facilities is anticipated before July 2001, the company said.

Rudy van der Meer, a member of the company’s board of management with responsibility for coatings, said the facilities “will considerably strengthen our position in China, and enable us to respond to market demands quickly and flexibly.” He said the plants also will serve as a “platform for the further expansion of our activities in the region,” adding that Akzo Nobel is pursuing a strategy of increased market share in fast-growing Asian economies, where China is a “key market.”