China has become more and more attractive to Danish investors since it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) ten years ago, said Ronald Christie, senior vice president of Novo Nordisk, a world leading company in diabetes care and healthcare.
“China’s WTO entry has opened doors wide for foreign investors, including Danish enterprises, to access the world’s largest emerging and most potential market,” Christie told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
As a global biopharmaceutical giant and leader, Novo Nordisk has been making active and growing investments in China over the past decade, which reflects its strong confidence in the business environment and the promising future of China, he said.
China’s entry to the WTO in 2000 opened a much broader market to multinational pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk. “Since then, China has become more and more important in Novo Nordisk’s global strategy. It also made us believe that China’s economic growth would be dramatic,” said Christie, who is also the head of Novo Nordisk in China.
Novo Nordisk, which focuses on diabetes treatments and insulin products, entered the Chinese market in the 1960s. The decision to invest there “was in recognition of the future role that China was expected to play in the world of commerce,” Christie said.
Novo Nordisk today counts China as its third-biggest market. In 2008, it invested 400 million U.S. dollars to establish an insulin filling plant in Tianjin. That investment, which came even as the world was struggling with a financial crisis, is the company’s largest one ever made in the world, and a reflection of how China’s economic engine is strong enough to sustain investor confidence in a time of market instability.
“Much support has been given by (China’s) central and provincial governments to support the development of foreign invested enterprises,” Christie added, noting that Tianjin, with its top-notch infrastructure, was the company’s natural choice of manufacturing base.
Christie said the new plant is Novo Nordisk’s “biggest production site” outside its homeland Denmark, and is the company’s “unique supplier for durable devices of insulin injection to the world.”
Novo Nordisk opened a research and development center in Beijing in 2002, the first one ever built by a foreign biopharmaceutical company in China. During 2011-2015, it will further invest 100 million dollars and double the center’s staff to 200 in order to make the center its biggest research and development base abroad.
Christie believed that China will continue to be a great place to do business, because the country “is expected to have continued economic growth and increasing prosperity which will ensure it remains one of the largest and most attractive markets in the world.”
“China represents one of the most important markets for Novo Nordisk,” Christie said.
The company’s financial report for the first half of 2011 showed that the growth of its sales in China reached 22 percent, overrunning the rise in North America, Europe or any other part of the globe. China has now become Novo Nordisk’s third largest market in the world and is still growing at the fastest pace.