Major Chinese dairy concern Yili Group launched its European research and development centre at Wageningen Campus last Tuesday (25 February). The centre was officially opened by Pan Gang, President of the Yili Group, Chen Xu, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, Aalt Dijkhuizen, President and Chairman of Wageningen UR and Geert van Rumund, Mayor of Wageningen. Initially, ten employees from China will be working at the Yili R&D centre.
During the ceremony to open the R&D centre, Yili and Wageningen UR also signed an agreement to work together on dairy farm management, processing of dairy products and food safety. Specific proposals for this collaboration are being drawn up.
Yili Group announced its intention to operate on a more international basis less than a year ago. The company already had Wageningen Campus in mind when, in September 2013, it decided to locate its European research facility in the Food Valley area. The strong position of the Netherlands in the food and agriculture sectors and the involvement of Food Valley and Wageningen UR in those sectors played an important role in Yili’s choice. The East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NV) and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) assisted in the decision-making. Annemieke Traag, member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland: “Yili’s arrival confirms my belief that the good collaboration between NFIA, Oost NV and our research institutes is helping more and more Chinese companies find their way to Gelderland.”The Yili Group is twelfth in the ranking of dairy companies worldwide. FrieslandCampina, fifth in the ranking, opened its R&D centre at Wageningen Campus last year.