February 26, 2014
China's Yili sets up dairy R&D centre in Europe
Yili Group, ranked the 12th dairy producer in the world, will jointly establish a Netherlands-based and Europe-targeted R&D entity with top European life science institution - Wageningen University, marking its latest overseas investment following investments in New Zealand, USA and Italy.
This is one of the most important strategic cooperation programmes between the Chinese dairy industry and an overseas R&D institution, marking the first Chinese R&D Centre in the European "Food Valley", a cluster of global food and nutrition research. Chairman of Wageningen University Aalt Dijkhuizen said that as the largest dairy product consuming market in the world, China supplies the milk for 1/6 of the world population, which is an extraordinary achievement.
At the launch ceremony, Yili Group announced its eight research directions of the R&D Centre in 2014 over 100 representatives from famous universities and research institutions in Europe present at the ceremony. In his address, board chairman of Yili Group, Pan Gang, summarised the reason for the establishment of the European R&D Centre in one word: "challenge."
Pan said, "What kind of dairy products are needed in the future is a great challenge as well as a great opportunity. Confronted with the challenge and opportunity, Europe will become the most important part in the global R&D system of Yili."
It was revealed by the principal that the centre would firstly focus on dairy cow cultivation, dairy product research, and food security. "The European R&D Centre will become our intelligent engine in terms of the three fields. Currently, we have begun the product R&D, and the result is expected to be launched soon."
According to the relevant principals of the European R&D Centre, Yili hopes to achieve closer relationship with Europe on the basis of several years of cooperation with several institutions in the world. "We shall not only cooperate with the top research institution, but also continue with the world-level research topics. What's more important is that we will invite global experts into our R&D team."
"After the three large-scale resource allocations last year, the cooperation with Wageningen University indicated that the global networking strategy of Yili gradually shifted its focus onto the global R&D," commented a senior dairy analyse of the Ministry of Agriculture and member of Dairy Association of China, Chen Yu.
The move could make full use of global science and technology and talents to enhance innovation in the Chinese dairy industry, which is an important strategic direction of Chinese dairy manufacturers in the future.
It was reported that within the same period when the Yili European R&D Centre was inaugurated, the organiser also held the Sino-Netherlands superior dairy industry seminar, during which experts from both countries discussed important issues such as food security and industrial integration.