By David Reed, UT EditorHouston, Texas-In five years’ time, Yantai Wanhua Polyurethane Co. Ltd – presently the only maker of MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) in the People’s Republic of China – plans to be selling as much as 30 percent of its capacity outside of the country. The only uncertainty appears to be precisely what that capacity will then amount to, according to one of the firm’s most senior managers, speaking in a 19 Oct. interview, shortly after the end of the Polyurethanes 2005 trade fair and conference.At present Yantai has a 100 000-kilotonnes-per-annum MDI plant in its home city of Yantai, east of Beijing in northern China, but it has just “mechanically completed” a new unit in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, which will see its total capacity soar to 260 ktpa by the first quarter of next year – and that site has space for as many as four additional plants, said Xingtian Guo, vice general manager and director secretary of the board of the firm.But the firm’s international ambitions are presently modest, he insisted. A Chinese company going outside of China will fit in with local customs and practices,” Guo emphasised. To this end, the firm has engaged the services of an international team of polyurethane specialists including Robin Grieve, who has been senior executive consultant with the firm for several years, along with more recent appointments including Mark Bradley, a senior consultant based in North America, and Roy Brooks, an independent consultant with responsibilities in northern Europe.These specialists will help Yantai sense the pulse, the needs of customers,” Guo explained, adding that the firm was in the process of establishing four international offices in the US, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong, in addition to its existing units in Tokyo, Moscow and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.To service the international markets, Yantai is already looking to set up MDI-storage units in the US, possibly in the Houston area, and Europe, with Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as a likely location, the company specialists said, indicating that these should be in place by the end of the year.”Our vision is to become an international company, like all the others,” Guo concluded.A more detailed version of this story will be presented in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Urethanes Technology magazine.”
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