For drive and motor manufacturer Bosch Rexroth AG, being close to customers in China has increased sales, and with a third plant now open in the People's Republic, the company is poised for even more growth. To ease production bottlenecks, Bosch Rexroth, a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH, this past January opened a $10 million plant in the Wujin district of Changzhou, a city northwest of Shanghai. The company, which has its operating headquarters in Lohr and its corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, has two other production sites in China -- in Beijing and Shanghai. "Thanks to the proximity of our factories to customers, Rexroth is developing above-average growth potential across the whole Asian region," says Manfred Grundke, president of sales automation. "With the local availability of application know-how, we want to continue to expand our share of the market and respond to the booming demand in Asia." Bosch Rexroth, with US$3.89 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2002, has increased its sales in China by nearly 75% in the past five years, and it anticipates doubling sales within China in the next four years. "We have experienced phenomenal growth in Asia, particularly China," says Wolfgang Dangel, president and CEO of the company's U.S. subsidiary, Bosch Rexroth Corp. "Today, 13% of our global sales come from Asia. By 2007, our goal is to achieve 20% of sales from Asia." Some 400 people work at the Wujin plant, and that figure is expected to grow to 500 by the end of this year. In this first phase, the plant is producing hydraulic cylinders and complete power units. Further production lines are planned for pneumatics and electric drives and controls as well as for linear motion technologies. "As we have increased our sales in Asia, Europe and the Americas, we have reinvested that money back into our European R&D efforts, and the benefits of this will continue to show in Asia and the U.S. as well," says Dangel. Worldwide, Bosch Rexroth employs 26,000. In the Americas, the company had total revenues of $795 million in fiscal year 2002 and employs 3,000.