German pharmaceuticals company Bayer Schering Pharma has announced plans to invest 100 million euros (129 million dollars) over the next five years to open an R&D center in Beijing.
Berlin is seeking a bigger stake in Beijing
The research and development center would be the fourth in the world for the pharmaceutical division of the German drug and chemical concern Bayer. The others are in Germany and the United States.
The Berlin-based firm is seeking to expand its presence in the world's most populous country. Andreas Fibig, chief executive of Bayer Schering, described China as the "key growth driver" for the company in the Asia-Pacific region.
Bayer Schering is the largest pharmaceutical company in China, according to the consulting and data-service company IMS Health Inc, and it saw more than 50-percent growth in China last year, Fibig said.
Profits rocket in China
Berlin's Schering and Leverkusen's Bayer fused in 2006
The growth exceeded 2007's 43-percent rise in sales to more than 300 million euros.
Liam Condon, managing director of Bayer HealthCare AG in China, said the health-care market in the Asian country was expected to grow more than 20 percent in the next two to three years and Bayer would outstrip that pace.
Planned reforms in China's health-care system and the development of its rural areas are presenting new opportunities for Bayer Schering, company CEO Fibig said.
He said he was optimistic about China's business development despite the world economic downturn. "In the health-care sector, we are seeing no effects at the moment," he said.