Asia to house Unilever's R&D centers

Asia to house Unilever's R&D centers

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 29 July 2008, 05:38 Hrs
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Mumbai: Cost-cutting being the foremost objective, the multi-national corporation, Unilever will shift a large part of its R&D resources to Asia. Competitive global research centers of the company will soon find a place in the cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Bangkok and Manila.

The move declared by Jim Lawrence, CFO and Vindi Banga, President of foods, Home and personal care, Unilever, will attempt to improve its focus on the emerging markets, which contributes around 44 percent of its turnover. Moreover, moving to a low-cost center like India is part of a bigger plan by Unilever to put in place a refocused R&D function. As reports Economic Times, a company spokesperson said, "The aim was for all home and personal care (HPC) R&D to take place in outstanding science and technology environments with first-class infrastructure and to have an optimum balance between benefits of scale and market focus."

Keeping track of the innovativeness in the market, this manufacturing firm has collaboratively structured 40 percent of its innovative techniques with the ideas and technologies of the external parties. It has merged 64 innovation centers into six centers with Mumbai, Bangalore and Shanghai emerging as their resource centers. However, ambiguity lays in the company�s step of resource centers setting, since a clear mention is not made whether more R&D centers will be added or the existing ones in India will house the global resource centers.

Hindustan Unilever research centers based in Mumbai and Bangalore has more than 250 researchers and scientists. The Bangalore center carries out research on foods and corporate research. American companies such as General Electric and Cisco have their second largest research centers in Bangalore. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)�s survey of current foreign locations of R&D puts India at sixth, accounting for 25 percent, with China ahead at third hosting 35.3 percent. Global companies' perception of the most attractive prospective (2005-09) R&D locations puts China right on top with a score of 61.8 percent, followed by the U.S. with 41.2 percent, and India at third place with 29.4 percent.

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