We opened the China Technology Center in Shanghai, which houses both corporate research staff and the business’ Research & Development teams. We also accelerated the expansion of Design Studios across India and China. These facilities provide dedicated space for consumer interaction and color and product advice, helping customers find the products and colors that exactly meet their needs. A deserved mention must also go to our Thane manufacturing facility in India, which won the AkzoNobel Decorative Paints Asia sustainability award in the Environment category for rainwater harvesting.
Our employees are actively involved in numerous community initiatives across the region through AkzoNobel’s Community Fund. We have projects running in all the countries where we have operations. These projects help to foster engagement within local communities and have proven to be very popular with our employees. Projects ongoing during 2008 ranged from giving sustainable support to young children and the disabled, to providing better conditions for homeless people and victims of disasters.