BANGKOK—Bridgestone Corp. has opened its Asia Pacific Technical Center Co. Ltd., a $42 million project designed to handle development work for the firm's activities throughout Asia-Pacific.
The center, operating under the direction of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., will house about 100 employees who will oversee functions relating to tire development, production technology, quality management and procurement.
The center will be a regional base covering safety, environment, product quality and delivery to Asian plants, Bridgestone said. The company disclosed its intention to build the center in January.
The Bangkok facility is Bridgestone's sixth technical center worldwide. The others are in Tokyo; Yokohama, Japan; Akron; Rome; and Wuxi, China.
The centers' functions up to now have been handled by Bridgestone's technical center in Tokyo. They will be shifted gradually to the new center as it ramps up, the company said.
Strengthening technical support in the region will allow Bridgestone to respond more quickly to customers' needs, the firm said.
Bridgestone derives about 21 percent of its global sales from business in Asia-Pacific, where it operates 11 tire plants, four retreading-retread materials plants and 20 diversified products plants, along with factories for steel cord, synthetic rubber, natural rubber and carbon black.
Bridgestone opened the center this week with a ceremony attended by Bridgestone representatives, including Yoshiyuki Morimoto, senior vice president; Shinichi Sato, vice president and officer of Bridgestone Corp. and president of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.; and Masajiro Fujiwara, managing director of Bridgestone Asia Pacific Technical Center Co. Ltd.
By establishing a technical center close to these markets, Morimoto said Bridgestone will be able to grasp changes in its customers' needs constantly and reflect these in the development of its products.
Bridgestone plans to increase its presence in the Asia Pacific region through enhancing research and development, expanding its sales network, and increasing tire production capacity as it strives to achieve its mission of "Serving Society with Superior Quality."