Following swiftly after the news that Agilent is planning to set up a new life science centre in Bangalore, India, Applied Biosystems announced the opening of its Asia Pacific Application Support Centre in Shanghai. China. The 'Agilent Life Science Centre' will be the seventh of Agilent's life science centres, with two in each of the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region already. The centre will have a multi-disciplinary team for advanced technology focusing on chemical analysis, molecular biology and software for creating new applications on its bio-analytical instrument platforms. "The initial focus will be on liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Over time, the centre will extend R&D capabilities to other platforms like microfluidics, gas chromatography and microarrays," said Chris van Ingen, Agilent's president of Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis. The centre will be created as part of a $35m (€26m) investment to create the centre and expand existing capabilities. "With the pharmaceutical sector witnessing strong growth, we expect India to climb the ladder fast. Over the next five years, we expect a business worth $200 million from India," he continued. Agilent started operations in India in 1999, focussed mainly on communications and electronics, employing close to 1,300 in the region at present, which the company expects to reach 2,000 over the next two years. Meanwhile, Applied Biosystems, an Applera Corporation company, have announced the opening of its new 5,400 sq. foot application support centre, in the second tower of Shanghai's Plaza 66 which houses top fashion brands such as Lois Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo. The facility will house five demonstration laboratories featuring the company's complete portfolio of instruments in a functional setting. Applied Biosystems first established a Chinese representative office in 1986 and has since been involved with a number of collaborations in China. The new facility will complement the company's demonstration laboratory in Tokyo, Japan, allowing the company to better serve its customers in the whole Asia-Pacific region. The key applications covered by the centre will span the life science sector and include pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, health care and clinical research, forensic analysis, and environmental and food safety testing. "We are extremely pleased to be opening our Asia Pacific Application Support Centre in China, one of the worlds most vibrant and growing markets," said Tony White, CEO of Applera Corporation. "Not only should we be able to better serve our customers in Asia Pacific and China, we should also be able to enhance collaboration on government initiatives such as our association with China's Ministry of Public Security for the health and welfare of the Chinese community." According to Renaldo Juanso, Applied Biosystem's director of global public relations, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for over 17 per cent of the company's revenues in 2006, with China representing the companies fastest growing market by a significant margin. He believes the new centre shows Applied Biosystems strong commitment to customers in the region and that the centre of excellence will help their customers achieve their goals more quickly. "We have seen an expansion in the use of our technologies beyond the core research laboratories and into more commercial markets such as pharma, biotech, forensics and food safety analysis," Juanso told LabTechnologist.com.