Borouge, the Abu Dhabi petrochemicals joint venture, is set to expand its Asian footprint with a plastics plant in India under consideration.
Borouge, which in April opened a US$70 million (Dh257.1m) compounding plant in Shanghai and is planning a production facility near factories in South China's Guangdong province, is weighing the merits of opening its first facility in India, a company official said.
"It's quite different from China," said William Yau, the chief executive of Borouge's marketing arm. "[In] the Indian market is a lot of Japanese makers, and their requirements are a little bit different."
The company is also seeking to stand out in Asia's increasingly crowded petrochemicals market by working closely with both the direct buyers of its plastics and the manufacturers who use them.
The joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the plastics manufacturer Borealis, based in Vienna, plans to triple its production in Ruwais by 2014 as well as spur research and development at an innovation centre in the UAE capital, where its manufacturing arm is based.
But Borouge remains a relatively small competitor, especially in China, where multinational companies are longer established and the world's largest petrochemicals maker, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, operates a $2.7 billion joint venture with the Chinese oil giant Sinopec.
"We have relatively small market share," Mr Yau said.
"Our focus has always been on the customers rather than the competition.
"When you look at a business, you look at the long term."
The company also took advantage of Borealis' expertise, sending some employees on training rotations to Vienna.
The Austrian company is 64 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company. Mr Yau said Borouge was also leveraging Borealis' reputation as a provider of advanced plastics to companies such as Volkswagen.
Since Mr Yau's arrival, Borouge has benefited from stable growth in China, India and the Middle East. Last year, China took the title of the world's biggest car maker from the US.
"We need to build up very aggressively in China," Mr Yau said.
The plant in Guangdong will have a capacity of 105,000 tonnes of compounded polypropylene resins by the time the company plans to take it online in 2012.
While China has played its strength as a manufacturing exporter, petrochemicals makers will have to craft products aimed at satisfying domestic Chinese demand, especially as car and home appliance ownership rises with the growth of the country's middle class.
"The path will not be exactly 100 per cent the same as the western world," Mr Yau said. "It will be faster." He sees promise in South East Asia, where Borouge is testing markets in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
It sees a growing demand for infrastructure such as pipelines in Vietnam, while Thailand already hosts several car makers.
But Borouge's first compounding plant outside China and the UAE is likely to be in India, where car makers are clustered near the capital of Delhi, Mr Yau said.