China: a new hotspot for innovations

Publish Date

13 NOV 2018


Kai Beckmann


China is a major innovation hotspot and one of our most important growth markets. Therefore, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will continue to invest in China and strengthen its collaboration with local companies, startups, and research institutes.

The perfect environment 

Guangzhou has become one of the most dynamic cities in China. It offers an innovation-friendly environment and is home to companies from promising sectors such as information technologies, artificial intelligence, biomedicine or renewable energies. To capitalize on this, we have recently signed an agreement with the Guangzhou Development District to establish a new innovation hub scheduled to open September 2019. I had the honor to officially announce the Guangdong Innovation Hub during my delegation trip to China. 

With the new innovation hub, we want to take advantage of the vibrant innovation ecosystem in Guangzhou. The hub will integrate the advanced technologies and expertise of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and its partners such as startups, academic institutions, business partners, and local government to drive the development of innovative technologies. With our  Accelerator program, we give promising start-ups the opportunity to join the innovation hub and test their projects in China before they move to our Innovation Center at  headquarters in Darmstadt, to further develop their projects and explore the European market.  

All in all, our new innovation hub will further strengthen our footprint in the dynamic Greater Bay Area in China and promote long-term business growth in the region.  

Encouraging open innovation 

Sharing knowledge and opening-up the own innovation processes become more and more important in an ever-accelerating economy. Our new innovation hub in Guangzhou is another initiative, with which Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany initiates innovation outside established routines, to encourage creative thinking in interdisciplinary teams and drive innovation. The principle of open innovation is firmly anchored in our corporate culture. 

But open innovation would never work if it was a one-way street. So, the new innovation hub also clearly demonstrates China's ambitions to open-up its economy. The Chinese government is making great efforts in cooperating with other countries and promote trade liberalization. We can confirm that. Guangzhou and the Rhine-Main region in Germany are closely linked. China is one of the countries on which we strongly focus our corporate strategy, because we see great growth potential here and believe that China will further improve its business environment. 

A strong relationship 

The relationship between Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany and China goes back over a hundred years. Already in 1888, Willy Merck travelled to China to make his first trade contacts. 85 years ago, we founded the E. Merck Chemical Co., Ltd. in Shanghai, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Over the following decades, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has continuously invested in the development of innovation in China. 

This year we have already opened a new technology center for our OLED customers in Shanghai, signed a new CRISPR core partnership with Tongji University, Shanghai, and entered into an agreement with Alibaba Health which aims to provide Chinese patients with improved access to healthcare services. Furthermore, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany attended the China International Import Expo (CIIE) this month, the first-ever import-themed expo in China. And next year, the new innovation hub in Guangzhou will be opened. 

As you can see, we are very keen to further cultivate our relations with China. By doing this, we are creating a win-win situation. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany benefits from the dynamic innovation ecosystem in China and accelerates its business growth. In return, we contribute our expertise and our technologies to this ecosystem and promote the development of China's prosperity. 

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