Akzo Nobel announced plans to further expand its powder coatings operations in China with the construction of two production plants this year. The new plants will be built in Langfang, between Beijing and Tianjin, and in Guangdong Province in southern China adjacent to Akzo Nobel's existing powder operation in Shenzhen.

The company will relocate its existing Beijing facility to the Langfang site, which is situated in a rapidly growing industrial region in northern China, says Bill McPherson, general manager for powder coatings. "This expansion will enable us to better serve its needs, as well as respond to general market growth in that region," he says.

"Guangdong Province is an important region for our exporting customers operating in metal furniture, electrical and other goods, and it also has a high concentration of powder users operating in architectural aluminum and IT," says McPherson, referring to the site in southern China. The Guangdong site also will allow for later expansion phases, he added.

The new facilities represent a continuation of the company's strategic focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market, says Rudy van der Meer, the member of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management responsible for coatings. The company's powder coatings business expanded into China in 1992, and "since then, we have consolidated our position through acquisition and organic growth," Van der Meer says.