Hershey: Opens Asia Innovation Center in Shanghai

Hershey / PA. (thc) As part of the company´s strategy to drive global growth and innovation, The Hershey Company announced the opening of its new Asia Innovation Center located in Shanghai, China.

Hershey´s new Asia Innovation Center, located at the Jinqiao Golden Bridge Research Park in the Pudong District of Shanghai, is a fundamental step toward accelerating the company´s global growth. This new research and development (R+D) hub will enable Hershey to quickly develop, test and launch new products customized to the tastes of consumers in China and across the Asia region. The new facility in Shanghai provides a strategic gateway to the larger Asia market while enabling close collaboration with local and regional China sales, marketing and operations personnel. China is currently Hershey´s fastest growth market, moving from number seven to number three in chocolate share in just five years with overall chocolate share more than quadrupling by 2012.

«Our new Innovation Center in Shanghai supports our aggressive growth plans in Asia and reflects our global approach to business», said Michael Wege, Hershey´s Senior Vice President, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer. «It will enable us to translate our insights and knowledge of consumer tastes and preferences into relevant products. With industry-leading innovation capabilities based in China, we will develop products that expand our portfolio across the region and around the world».

For nearly 120 years, The Hershey Company has embodied innovation with products that have changed the confectionery industry and established the company as one of the world´s leading candy makers. The launch of a world-class technical facility in Shanghai is another step toward continuing the growth momentum in this region.

The two-floor, 22’000 square-foot facility is a significant investment in the China market and will house R+D laboratories, a pilot plant for the chocolate and sweets + refreshment categories and a development center for emerging product offerings. It will also feature a sensory area, creativity center, packaging development section and research laboratory.

The center will initially employ twelve scientists and product developers and includes office space for up to 32 engineers and innovation staff. The team will be led by Qingbin Yuan, Hershey´s Director of Asia Research + Development. Over time, Hershey will supplement technical resources that will enable this facility to become a broader global innovation hub with a focus on building powerful brands in China, across Asia and potentially worldwide. To achieve this goal, particular emphasis will be placed on consumer research and testing – a process Hershey´s calls consumer-centric brand building. By placing the consumer in the driver seat, Hershey is able to gain a holistic understanding of how the company´s products play into lifestyles and changing consumer needs.

«The China team is very excited about the new Innovation Center in Shanghai», said Jane Xu, Vice President and General Manager of Greater China for The Hershey Company. «Our aggressive growth target in the next five years will be achieved by building our five global brands across China, along with the innovation capabilities developed at the center».

The new facility also opens the opportunity for Hershey to tap into the skilled and capable Chinese talent pool. «Hershey will hire primarily local talent from the region», said Qingbin Yuan. «This will allow us to gain deeper insights into the local consumer and establish strong partnerships with local universities and vendors and create new innovation capabilities in Asia».