Continental has opened a new technology facility in Shanghai. The German group said the Automotive Tech Centre will be used for application development and to system test technology and products customised for the Chinese OEM market.

Two Conti divisions, chassis and safety, and powertrain, have invested in the facility. Engineering activities cover electronic and hydraulic brake systems plus engine management and system control.

"As one of the main tech centres in Asia, Continental Automotive Tech Centre Jiading plays an important role in expanding our local R&D talent pool, building up local R&D competence and optimising R&D cost for the Asian OEMs," a Continental statement said.

Spokesman Dietmar Siemssen said: "This new centre is the R&D application base for ABS and ESC systems for the emerging markets in Asia."

Asia president Jay Kunkel added: "Continental intends to make 25% of our total sales in this region by 2013. China holds great potential and the new investment demonstrates our strong commitment to increase our presence and business. Un the next decade the automotive industry will focus on 'affordable' cars.

"Accordingly, we are intensifying our R&D localisation strategy to develop tailor-made products for the Asian market with a focus on affordable cars while providing more efficient support to local customers."