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Case: Expansion in China

Jiangmen is the site of a new JV that Umicore has set up with the Chinese company Jiangmen ChangXin Technology (JCX) for its electroplating business.

The new entity – Umicore ChangXin Surface Technology (UCST) – will market chemicals used to apply very thin precious metal coatings to jewellery and electrical components.

Special expertise

JCX has considerable expertise in chemical engineering and processing. “They also have a strong reputation and good relationships with the local government,” explains Thomas Engert, Senior Vice-President Electroplating. “In fact, Umicore is already running two JVs with JCX in Jiangmen, and the new lab will be located in the buildings of one of them.”

With around 20 employees, UCST will not manufacture electroplating chemicals but will import them from Umicore’s plant in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. “UCST’s value lies in service,” adds Thomas. “We educate customers about using the chemicals efficiently. A laboratory will perform analytical services and conduct small-scale plating trials to show customers the properties of coatings and adapt them to their needs.”

Once the new company is operational in the beginning of 2015, Umicore will benefit by being closer to customers’ service needs and speaking their language in this growing market.