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Samsung Total to open China office

South Korean petrochemical producer Samsung Total said it would open an office in China this year for local production and sales of its petrochemical products. The office will be in charge of production and sales of composite polypropylene (PP), mostly used in cars and electric appliances, the company said. In January, Samsung Total, a 50-50 joint venture between Samsung Group and French oil major Total, had said it will invest 11 billion won (US$10.59 million) for a composite PP plant in China with an annual capacity of 28,000 tons. Foreign firms have been eager to invest in China’s huge petrochemical industry, which has been expanding at a double-digit annual rate in recent years. South Korea’s largest refiner SK Energy confirmed that it had agreed to buy a 35% stake in a joint venture with Sinopec Corp. to build a petrochemical complex in central China. SK Energy declined to reveal the value of the deal but an industry source was quoted as saying that the investment would be around 1 trillion won (US$963 million). (June 1, 2008)