2 Chinese firms to open offices in new SkySong
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 27, 2006

Jane Larson

SCOTTSDALE - SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, has signed two high-tech environmental companies from China as its latest tenants.

Litree Co., which specializes in water-purification technology, and Fscreen Sci-tech Co. Ltd., which is developing solar-energy technology, will put their first U.S. operations in SkySong when it opens next summer, according to Rob Melnick, associate vice president for economic affairs at Arizona State University.

The two companies are the first from fast-growing China and the second and third international companies to join the high-tech collaborative development in south Scottsdale. Meanwhile, construction at SkySong remains on schedule and developers plan a topping-off ceremony for the first office building in early February, said Sharon Harper, chief executive officer of Glendale-based developer Plaza Cos. The milestone will mark completion of the building's steel framing and the start of exterior and interior work.

"Now the steel is going up and we're starting to see major work," Harper said. Developers have seen good interest in a second office building and plan an announcement soon, she added.

Melnick said the Chinese companies want to use SkySong as a platform to enter the United States and will work with university researchers to test and improve their products for U.S. markets.

"We're trying to get really interesting, innovative high-tech companies to go to SkySong so we realize the goal of a global marketplace," Melnick said.
"The students can benefit from the global experience and create connections to the real world."

Fscreen signed its agreement with SkySong this month, while Litree committed in November.

The two companies will collaborate with ASU researchers who develop and test materials that convert sunlight to electricity and with chemical engineers who specialize in water quality, Melnick said.

They initially will take space in SkySong's Enterprise Arizona Venture Center, a business incubator for young companies and those beginning operations in Arizona.

Litree and Fscreen would move to larger SkySong offices as they get established, he said.

Fscreen was founded in 1999 to develop and manufacture screens for rear-projection televisions. As the market switches to plasma and liquid-crystal-display screens, Fscreen is applying its lens and screen technology to solar energy, Melnick said.

Its main products would concentrate sunlight to efficiently generate electricity for water heaters and other household devices, he said.

Litree, founded in 1992, develops and manufactures ultra-filtration membranes used to purify drinking water, clean water used by industry and treat wastewater, according to its Web site. More than 300,000 households in China use its products.

The company plans to work with Scottsdale to test municipal products. It is negotiating with two major retail chains to design and manufacture home products, Melnick said.

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