Rapid growth in the spandex market in Asia has prompted DuPont (NYSE: DD) and Lianyungang Zhongshan Spandex Company Limited to form a 50/50 joint venture in the People's Republic of China to manufacture and sell generic spandex fibers.

This is the first alliance formed by DuPont in China to pursue its generic spandex strategy. It is the third in a series planned by the company in key growth markets, following the recent formation of joint ventures with Saehan in Korea and Shinkong in Taiwan. The Chinese joint venture will expand capacity from 4,000 tons a year to 7,500 tons a year, focusing primarily on the Chinese market.

"We are pleased to partner with Lianyungang, the pioneer and the largest spandex producer in China, to accelerate our participation in the huge Chinese textiles industry," said Steve McCracken, group vice president and general manager for DuPont Lycra. "The spandex market in Asia, and particularly China, is experiencing rapid growth. It has become one of the largest markets in the world with strong demand for spandex-containing garments for both export and domestic consumption. In pursuing our generic spandex strategy through alliances, DuPont is quickly becoming a leading player in Asia through partnerships with strong local manufacturers."

DuPont's joint venture with Lianyungang in China builds on its four decades of strength in technology, quality production and global presence, and Lianyungang's strengths in local market access and cost effective operations. "This is an excellent partnership opportunity for our company," said Mao Yi Ping, president of Lianyungang. "We have been searching for ways to further excel in our spandex production to prepare for the potential market changes after China enters the World Trade Organization. We believe that with DuPont as our partner, including their support in state-of-the-art technology and world-class management, we will now able to establish a much stronger, longer-term competitive position in the spandex industry."

"DuPont has no plans to integrate its alliances in generic spandex with its Lycra business. The joint venture with Lianyungang will maintain separate management and distribution to market," said J. S. Kim, global business director, DuPont Generic Spandex.

Lianyungang Zhongshan Spandex Company is located in Lianyungang in northern Jiangsu Province, one of the largest spandex consuming provinces in China. Lianyungang began production in 1992. The company resides in a nationally sanctioned economic and technology development zone with full support for its well-maintained facilities and management team.