The centre, featuring the latest in sensory technology, as well traditional tried and tested methods, includes high performance statistic programmes, rooms for focus groups, panel-training rooms and individual sensory-test booths. Opened earlier this summer by company CEO Dr Gerald Linzbach and global president of the Flavour and Nutrition division Dr Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, it is hoped that the centre will support all the Asia Pacific teams by offering expertise and the newest tools. The Singaporean centre joins a global network of universities and market research institutes, complementing the already existing regional centres in Europe and the Middle East, and North and South America. Symrise expect the centre to provide the company with insights into the opinions and preferences this growing consumer group, allowing it to generate new, successful products tailored to the Asia Pacific market. "As a region, Asia is essential to the global Symrise group, which is why it is the perfect place for us to keep expanding our outstanding expertise in the field of sensory and consumer research," explains Linzbach. Linzbach references today's increasingly global world, whilst recognising the importance of understanding local markets and the cultural and social differences that may influence their nature. "The Asia Pacific market features different cultures, the influences of wide-ranging global trends and a broad spectrum of consumer needs" adds Linzbach, who also added that an insight into these features would be necessary if the company is to successfully serve the needs of the market. "In our experience, these insights can only be established and developed by having intense contact with people on site," she added. In 2006 the Asia Pacific market made up 18.9 per cent of Symrise' sales, in comparison to 18.8 for North America and Mexico, with Europe, Africa and the Middle East still playing the largest role with 55.6 per cent of sales. Steadily increasing per-capita income levels is leading to significant growth in the personal care industry in Asia, with many of the big players benefiting from the market expansion. Furthermore, recent growth in specific sectors within the industry, such as male personal care products, illustrates further market sophistication.