BEIJING—Linglong Group Co. Ltd., citing China's dependency on imported natural rubber, has pledged to invest $450 million to help set up a company in China dedicated to developing a commercially viable rubber derived from dandelion latex.
The new company, tentatively named Linglong Dandelion Science and Technology Development Co., would be responsible for recruiting the appropriate talent to "break the bottleneck in the key technology of industrialization of dandelion rubber," according to Linglong Chairman Wang Feng.
Mr. Wang disclosed Linglong's plans during the 2017 Dandelion Rubber Technology Innovation Forum, held recently in Beijing and hosted by Linglong and an entity known as the Dandelion Rubber Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance.
The theme of this meeting centered on technology innovation in the dandelion industry, and was aimed at accelerating the development of China's dandelion rubber industry, Linglong said.
China imports more than 80 percent of the natural rubber its industries need, Linglong noted.
The Yantai, China-based tire maker said the development and application of dandelion rubber also could improve the environment because it would reduce the use of synthetic rubber in the Chinese rubber industry.
If the research company comes to fruition, Linglong would join the growing ranks of tire companies investing in dandelion rubber, including Bridgestone Corp.; Continental A.G.; and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.