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Kimberly-Clark plans innovation center here

July 13, 2011 - 19:26 By 이지윤
U.S. company says Korea is at the forefront of technologies and inventions

Kimberly-Clark Corporation said Wednesday that it will establish its first overseas global innovation center in Korea as early as January.

The U.S. households and personal care products manufacturer has already been operating its only Innovation Center Asia in Giheung, Gyeonggi Province, since 2007.

While the current center will continue to focus on research and development activities, the new one will join the company’s whole process of product design for consumers in Korea, Asia and the world, the company said.

“We selected Korea because of the 40-year success of our joint-venture company, Yuhan-Kimberly, and because the country is at the forefront of many great technologies and inventions that meet consumer demands,” Cindy Panning, vice president of product development, said during a press conference in central Seoul on Wednesday. 
Cindy Panning (left), Kimberly-Clark’s vice president of product development, and Rob Everett, managing director of Innovation Center Asia in Korea, speak during a press conference in central Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)

Yuhan-Kimberly, a joint venture established in 1970 between local company Yuhan Corp. and U.S.-based Kimberly-Clark Corp., is Korea’s leading manufacturer of diapers and bathroom paper products.

“Innovation is a core strategy of our global business plan. Our Global Innovation Centers will help us stay competitive in the fast-changing environment,” Panning said.

The maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers is strengthening its global network through innovation centers. Along with the two centers in Neenah, Wisconsin and Roswell, Georgia, the Korean center will be the third one globally, the company said.

The new center will use the building of the ICA in Gyeonggi Province, with the number of employees almost doubling from the current 45.

For more creative and innovative research activities, the company said, the staff members will sometimes be dispatched to individual households in Korea and other neighboring countries such as China, India and Australia.

“The Global Innovation Center expands our product development opportunities while capitalizing on the outstanding technology capability of the ICA,” said Rob Everett, managing director of ICA, who will also oversee the GIC in Korea.

“This move takes Kimberly-Clark’s innovation to the next level by bringing essential and innovative products to consumers in Korea, Asia and the world.”

According to the company, the innovation center will provide job opportunities to local talents to collaborate with and to participate in global-scale product development.

It also improves access for small- and medium-sized companies here to supply technologies and materials to the company globally.

By Lee Ji-yoon (