Differences in regulations and cultural practices can pose challenges for western businesses establishing operations in China and West Pharmaceutical Services encountered difficulties, although its intention to build another facility there shows there are definite benefits.
Ron van Dijk, West’s president of West Asia Pacific, explained that the company has been building relationships in China since 2006 and had an agreement in place at the end of that year.
However, the government changed the process and this set back West by 12 months, with the deal being concluded at the end of 2007. Throughout the process West was “very cautious” but has now built strong relationships the government and Shanghai Qingpu Industrial Zone.
These relationships may be useful when West commences the next stage of its expansion into China, which will see it build a plant producing stoppers and plungers for vials and syringes on land adjacent to its new facility.
Construction of the second facility will add to capacity in Singapore and allow it to meet rising global demand, in particular in China. West’s new facility was built for similar reasons, with van Dijk explaining that the site in Germany, which also produces closures, is running out of capacity.
The facility in China is currently producing a product for one customer. Once this client conducts an audit and validates the facility it will be fully operational and can begin helping meet the rising global demand for West’s TrimTec and InsoCap closures for intravenous solution bottles.
Efforts to improve drug safety standards in China have resulted in rising demand for the closures. This will be met by the new facility which will also manufacture products for regions including India, Vietnam and South America.
The facility currently employs 52 people and covers 12,000 sq m (129,000 sq ft).