Volvo Construction Equipment has underlined its commitment to the Chinese construction equipment market with the inauguration this week of its Jinan Technology Center in Shangdong province. The facility was opened with the presence of the vice mayor of Jinan, Li Kuanduan, along with 230 guests and media. Engineers at the 50,000-square-meter site will specifically focus on developing products and components for customers in emerging markets.

The SEK 270 million (about U.S. $42 million) center combines design offices with workshops and facilities for testing both complete machines and components. Currently there are more than 150 employees working at the center, the majority of whom are local engineers. The site can accommodate up to 450 people.

“Opening a technical center in China plays an important role in Volvo CE achieving its growth ambitions,” said Anders Larsson, executive vice president of Volvo CE’s technology. “The Jinan Technology Center is an important element in our plan to have a global footprint of engineering and design resources. This facility will help us to expand and develop Volvo CE’s global product portfolio.”

The Jinan Technology Center consists of a test track, design offices and two testing buildings including component and prototype assembly workshops, as well as areas for testing performance and structure of equipment. While the new facility was under construction, the Jinan team produced positive results from their initial temporary location, developing the L105 wheel loader, the first Volvo-branded machine developed specifically for emerging markets. The unit was developed over a 25-month period and launched at the end of 2012.

Future projects at the site include the development of wheel loaders, excavators and road and utility products.

“Emerging markets present an attractive and growing opportunity for Volvo CE to provide customers with high quality products that are tailored to their specific needs,” said Mats Sköldberg, president of Volvo CE Technology China. “Volvo CE specifically chose to invest in the city of Jinan, confirming our confidence in local engineering. China is the biggest, and now perhaps the most important, market for us and we kn ow that it is vital to have a design and manufacturing presence where the machines are used. It gives us a greater understanding of our customers and their needs.”