Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Novartis to spend US$100m on Shanghai research centre

look at the end of the article for the reference to relative salary comparisons...

SHANGHAI : Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Monday it planned a US$100m research centre in China's largest city Shanghai, testimony to the Asian nation's growing scientific clout.

"This research and development centre is a milestone not just for Novartis' commitment to state-of-the-art biomedical and pharmaceutical research and development in China," Novartis chief executive Daniel Vasella said.

"It is also a signal and symbol of the ever growing importance of China and our willingness to trust the government and our associates to proceed with a long-term investment which entails the respect of intellectual property."

Construction of the 38,000-square-meter (410,000-square-foot) centre, the eighth in the company's global research network, will begin in mid-2007 and it will eventually employ about 400 scientists, the company said.

To serve Novartis' needs before the new centre begins operations, a 5,000-square-meter facility will open in May next year, the company said.

Cost is a key factor in prompting companies to locate their research facilities in places like China, according to observers.

"The main reason is that costs are lower in China," said Yuan Lu, a Shanghai-based analyst with Everbright Securities.

"In China, the salary of a doctoral candidate is about 100,000 yuan (US$13,000) a year, while abroad it's typically US$100,000," she said.

At the same time, however, the establishment of the centre reflects China's growing role in scientific research.

At the start of economic reform a generation ago, China produced almost no Ph.D. candidates but by 2003, a total of 13,000 doctorates were awarded, 70 percent of them in science and engineering, according to official data.

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