DuPont expands corn business in China

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Saudi arabia, Dupont

Biotech firm DuPont has further strengthened its position in China,
announcing this week the formation of a joint venture with one of
the country's largest seed production companies.

The new partnership, between the US firm's subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International and China's Dunhuang Seed Co, aims to bring some strong new hybrid corn products to the Chinese market.

"This venture is part of a broader DuPont commitment to growing its presence in China by putting our science to work,"​ said Doug Muzyka, president of DuPont Greater China and DuPont China Holding Co.

"DuPont earlier announced a plan to double its China investment by 2010. A series of projects, including this second seed joint venture, is under construction or negotiation to help achieve this goal,"​ he added.

The new joint venture, Dunhuang Seed Pioneer Hi-Bred Company, will develop and distribute high-yielding corn hybrids for the spring corn market in China. The joint venture plans to produce seed in 2007 for sale in 2008.

According to DuPont, "this is a key long-term investment in a significant agricultural market."

In accordance with Chinese law, Dunhuang Seed Pioneer Hi-Bred Company is 49 percent owned by Pioneer, and 51 percent owned by Dunhuang Seed.

Pioneer first established a business representative office in Beijing in 1997. A year later, it began breeding and testing corn hybrids for commercialization in China for the summer and spring corn areas.

The first Pioneer corn hybrids were approved for commercialization in 2002. In late 2002 Pioneer established a summer corn joint venture in China - Shandong Denghai Pioneer Seeds Co. The first commercial sales were in 2004 and the business has achieved solid growth since then, said the firm.

With 62.5 million acres, China is second only to the US in the amount of land producing corn. Dunhuang Seed has been in the seed business for almost three decades and is one of the largest seed production companies in China.

The firm expects the new joint venture to combine the strengths of both companies to benefit the nation's agricultural industry.

"The comprehensive cooperation between the two parent companies is a complementary one, which will upgrade China's corn seed sector and its commercialization process, and meanwhile lay a solid foundation for further development for both Dunhuang Seed and Pioneer,"​ said Wang Da-he, chairman of Gansu Dunhuang Seed.

In another expansion move, DuPont also announced this week the launch of its first representative office in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, which it hopes will allow it to better target the region's markets, including those of Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

In addition, the firm has launched an aggressive reorganization strategy for its nutrition and crop protection businesses, which will involve closing or streamlining 10 plants and slashing 1,500 jobs globally.

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