Consumer product giant Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, today opened a research and development center in Korea’s Yongin, Kyonggi Province. The company’s innovation center marks its first R&D facility to be launched outside of the U.S.
According to The Korea Times, the initial agreement between Korea and Kimberly-Clark dates back to June when Chung Sye-kyun, former minister of commerce, industry and energy, met with K-C executives in the U.S. to discuss the possibility of building its first regional facility in Asia. This led to the signing of a memorandum between the U.S. firm and the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in September. A senior official at Kimberly-Clark said then that Korea’s fast-developing technology and design culture makes it a good location for the center. KOTRA provided $1.6 million for Kimberly-Clark to locate the research center in Korea.
The center, located on the campus of the Yuhan Research Institute in Yongin, has some 80 researchers and is scaled at more than 5200 square meters. Kimberly-Clark plans to invest $40 million over the next five years in Korea to develop high-end health and hygiene products with its staff in the U.S. and Korean researchers and designers.
At the grand opening ceremony, Kyonggi Province governor Kim Moon-soo said he believes the Korean government’s full cooperation with Kimberly-Clark, Yuhan and Yuhan-Kimberly’s research will contribute to the rise of Korean exports. Hong Ki-hwa, president of KOTRA, said he predicts K-C’s new facility will help raise the country’s economic profile and encourage other multinational firms to come to Korea.