Growing Chinese economy brings opportunities for multinational companies

19:08, November 11, 2009      

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The growth of the Chinese economy has brought opportunities for multinational companies and has a great future, according to a senior executive from U.S. health care company Abbott Laboratories.

Thomas F. Chen, senior vice president of international nutrition at Abbott, told Xinhua during an exclusive interview on Tuesday: "China is an important focus for our company and will be a critical contributor to our growth over the next five years."

Headquartered in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Abbott is a broad-based health care company with global expertise in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices, including vascular devices and diabetes monitoring products. However, Abbott's largest business in China is nutrition, and Abbott is one of the top premium infant formula brands in the country.

"Our nutritional sales in China have more than doubled over the past three years, and we will see continued strong growth in the years ahead. When you look across our ex-US nutrition business, China will be a critical contributor to our growth over the next five years," Chen said.

Viewing China as a very important market, Abbott has been building its infrastructure and capabilities in China over the past few years.

"Abbott opened its first office in Shanghai in 1994. Today, we have eight branch offices, more than 1,500 employees and two important manufacturing facilities in China. In Shanghai, we have a joint venture that opened in 1998 and is exclusively serving the Chinese market," Chen said.

He said Abbott was developing very quickly in the Chinese market. Earlier this year, it opened a nutritionals manufacturing facility in Guangzhou and a pharmaceutical research laboratory in the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Industrial Park.

"China has one of the fastest growing economies. Abbott's strategy in China is to provide innovative healthcare products to meet Chinese nutritional needs and the growing domestic demand," Chen said.

He also expressed optimism for the growing potential of Chinese nutritional market. "Rising personal income and increased consumer education about the importance of nutrition as a building block for lifelong health are creating growing demand for high-quality, science-based nutritional products in China. There is also a strong focus on future generations, and parents want to ensure their children get the very best start of life," he said.

Abbott is a science-based health care company with a 121-year heritage, and has been developing high-quality infant formula products for 85 years. "In China, we are expanding our pediatric nutrition product portfolio to meet a wider range of feeding and parenting needs," Chen said.

The Abbott Fund, Project HOPE and the Shanghai Children's Medical Center also officially inaugurated China's first Institute of Nutrition Science at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

"Next year, Abbott will open a new R&D center in Singapore. Scientists at the facility will be looking at the nutritional needs and preferences of Asian consumers, including those in China, so that we can better tailor products to meet their needs," Chen said.

Source: Xinhua
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