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Asahi Kasei Corp. and a unit of U.S.-based DuPont on Tuesday said they will set up a joint venture in China to produce polyacetal, a resin often used in automobile parts.

The move is aimed at swiftly supplying polyacetal to automakers and household appliance firms with production bases in China, company officials said.

Asahi Kasei and DuPont China Holding Co., DuPont’s subsidiary in China, are expected to invest equally in the firm, which will be capitalized at $32 million.

Construction of the plant, in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, is expected to begin in August, with operations scheduled to start in spring 2004.

The facility’s initial production capacity will be 20,000 metric tons per year, and annual capacity will be increased to 60,000 tons in the future, the companies said.

About 70 percent of resins produced at the plant will be sold in China, a fast-growing copolymer market, an Asahi Kasei official said.

Polyacetal was developed by DuPont in 1960. Resilient and easy to process, it is commonly used in automobile engine parts and household appliances.

The polyacetal market in China is currently estimated at more than 100,000 tons a year and is expected to remain the world’s fastest-growing polyacetal market, the companies said.

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