Beijing, China, October 30, 2010-Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a recognized leader in safety testing and certification, today announced a series of new investments that further its long-term commitment to providing China global market access and address the growing needs of the world’s largest trading country. Coinciding with 30 years of helping Chinese manufacturers comply with international standards, UL’s investments include establishment of a new world-class facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu province and a refined service portfolio that will further enhance its ability to help manufacturers bring safer products to consumers around the globe.

Expecting to invest US$31.8 million dollars, UL anticipates the 27,800-square-meter facility will eventually accommodate 800-1000 employees and be built according to requirements of the USGBC (US Green Building Council) LEED certification. Once complete, it will consolidate UL’s safety testing services in China and feature an advanced photovoltaic testing lab with solar trackers, a high-voltage lab for low-voltage apparatus and a HVAC calorimeter chamber. As part of the continued investment, UL will also leverage its new global business structure to provide environmental claims validation, supply chain verification, and comprehensive training services to Chinese manufacturers.

"Since our entrance into China, UL has continuously broadened its business scope and industry focus to be a proactive force for China’s exports and trading sector," said Keith Williams, UL’s president and CEO. "We have demonstrated our leadership and commitment to more efficiently serve our customers locally and help facilitate trade between China and markets around the world, so it is very natural for UL to strategically enhance our engineering capabilities and expand our presence in China by building a world-class facility in Suzhou."

Bolstered by increasing international trade and an opening reform policy, China has stepped into the center of the global economy and become the world’s largest trading country and the second largest exporting country, with more than 1 trillion US dollars in foreign exchange reserves. "We are proud of being one of the contributing factors in China’s export and economic growth," said Weifang Zhou, UL’s vice president and Managing Director of Greater China. "The rapidly changing needs of Chinese industry and the technological advancements in renewable energy, electric vehicles, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency allow us a tremendous opportunity to expand our service offerings and provide our expertise to help Chinese manufacturers stay competitive in the global market." 

As a global leader in standards development, testing and certification, UL originally established a cooperative relationship with the China Certification and & Inspection Corporation (CCIC) in 1980 to conduct follow-up inspections in Chinese factories and provide market access into North America. In response to China’s rapid growth and need for local services, UL formed a joint venture with CCIC and together they have provided local testing and certification for components, home appliances, and wire and cable, as well as audio/visual, IT and lighting equipment since 2003.  

Currently, UL has testing facilities in Suzhou and Guangzhou, offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Chongqing, and inspection staff serving nearly every part of China. UL also contributes to product safety education in China by frequently offering seminars and technical training for Chinese manufacturers on safety requirements for China-made goods, including home appliances and wire and cable.

Earlier this year, UL expanded its global photovoltaic testing services and opened a Photovoltaic Technology Center of Excellence in Suzhou. The new facility is the largest photovoltaic testing laboratory in Greater China and one of SIX facilities that UL has opened since 2008. All of the facilities have the capability to test to both UL and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards.

"Compared to 30 years ago, we recognize that ‘Made in China’ no longer stands for initial processing, mass-produced and low-price," said Williams. UL remains focused on providing Chinese manufacturers with excellent service to help them gain access to worldwide markets and continue their transition of Made in China products being efficiently produced and competitively priced without compromising quality and safety.  We’re more excited about what UL and China can accomplish over the next 30 years to improve safety worldwide."