Danish Novozymes Boosts Presence in China

Novozymes China has seen its share of success. And thanks to local government support, the company will continue to flourish in Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park (HSP), said China Regional President, Michael Christiansen.

Headquartered in Denmark, Novozymes is the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes playing a role in everything from detergents to beer to gasohol. It first entered China in the mid-1990s. “When we founded our base in Zhongguancun, we were surrounded by cabbages and cackling hens, ” said Zhu Xiaoqing, senior manager of Novozymes’ China Government Relations.

But now, after more than a decade, Novozymes has several new neighbors. The building stands amid a crowd of skyscrapers.

Located in the Shangdi area of HSP, the complex has a traditional Chinese courtyard while featuring a modern Danish interior.

“Every staff member is proud of working in such a beautiful and comfortable building,” said former Novozymes China president Knud Aunstrup in a corporate publication.

The company has received consistent support from China since its inception in the country.

Novozymes’ 1997 inauguration was attended by Wang Guangying, former vice chairman of the National People’s Congress. Haidian vice directors Fu Shouqing and Yang Zhiqiang also made appearances.

“If we ever have a problem, I’m confident the government will do their best to assist us,” said Christiansen.

“We are happy to have their support, and we look forward to future collaborations,” he added.

‘Rethink tomorrow’

With a renewed focus on research and development, Novozymes has coined a fresh corporate slogan. “Rethink Tomorrow” will now replace “Unlocking the magic of nature” on company products and publications.

The change comes after new collaborations with nearby research universities, including Peking and Tsinghua.

The colleges are among six area institutions that participate annually in Novozymes’ life science festivals. The competitions award company internships to innovative students.

Novozymes also provides scholarships to several university students in southern China.

The corporation invests 13 to 14 percent of its annual revenues into R&D. It now holds over 6,000 patents, and markets some 700 products in 130 countries.

“In China almost all the high-end washing detergent brands use our enzymes,” Zhu said.

The company was not impacted by the recent financial crisis, and retained all 5,000 global staff members.

“We don’t do stupid things, like hiring people who don’t do anything,” Christiansen said. He expects demand for Novozymes products to increase in the near future.

Sustainable growth

Novozymes strives to be environmentally friendly. The company headquarters uses LED lights, which consume less electricity.

Zhu added that two sided printing is encouraged, as are energy efficient appliances. Further, employees drink from porcelain rather than paper cups.

So dedicated is the corporation to recycling that its Tianjin facility hasn’t produced solid wastes since 2005.

But sustainable practices aren’t limited to Novozymes complexes. The company recently provided Tianjin farmers with free Novo Gro, an eco-friendly fertilizer.

Plans are also in the works to develop wind power facilities.

“We have reduced our energy consumption so drastically that there is little space for improvement,” said Zhu.

Since 1995, the number of enterprises in HSP has more than doubled.

Christiansen is pleased that many small and medium-sized bioscience companies have thrived in the park. He hopes the government will offer even more incentive policies for foreign corporations like his own.

Novozymes’ Beijing R&D center is one of its largest worldwide. “The business prospects in China are great,” Christiansen said.

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