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Syngenta Biotechnology, a division of the Swiss giant agribusiness company Syngenta (NYSE: SYT), has begun construction of an R&D center in Beijing. When the company announced its intention to build the center, it committed $100 million to developing the project over the next five years. The China facility will concentrate on evaluating genetic modifications for key crops such as corn and soybeans, with the goal of improving yields, drought resistance, disease control and biomass conversion for biofuels.

Syngenta Biotechnology opened a temporary R&D facility in Beijing in the summer of 2008 and already has 70 employees on staff. Worldwide, Syngenta employs 24,000 people in more than 90 countries. Of these, 4,000 are working in R&D.

Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, President of Syngenta Biotechnology, called the China facility a “capability expansion.” The company says its Beijing lab is the first foreign-funded agricultural biotech research institution in China.

The Biotechnology division of Syngenta is headquartered in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. In 2001, 85% of Syngenta’s revenues came from chemicals. Only 15% came from seeds.

Syngenta, the parent company, opened a chemical R&D center in Goa, India in 2007.

Disclosure: none.

Source: Syngenta Biotechnology Breaks Ground on Beijing R&D Center