NKK Corp has joined the Beijing Central Engineering and Research Incorporation of the Iron and Steel Industry (CERIS) to form a joint-venture engineering firm in Beijing to expand its plant engineering operations in China and other Asian countries. The new company, Beijing Phoenix Steel Metallurgical Engineering Co (NPEC) will engage in the planning and design of steelmaking, rolling and other plant engineering proects, supply of equipment and machinery, and provide technical services in China and abroad. Shigeharu Dote, NKK's managing director for plant engineering, serves as chairman of the new company, and Tadahiko Shida, NKK's deputy general manager will be managing director. NKK's primary objective in setting up the joint venture firm is to fortify its plant engineering business base and expand its marketing opportunities in China, by capitalising on NKK's broad technical expertise in this sector and the inexpensive design capability and project-performance strength available in China. The firm also intends to further heighten its competitiveness in other countries as well by making the best use of economical Chinese equipment and abundant human resources. NKK's engineering division has been vigorously pursuing overseas procurement and local design and manufacturing to cope with the drastic appreciation of the yen. The company is hopeful that the formation of the new joint venture will lead to winning further contracts and expanding its procurements in China.