EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. — Beyond Meat Inc. finalized the lease for a new research and development center in Shanghai, China. The facility will become a hub of innovation led by scientists and researchers focused on developing plant-based meat alternatives for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The center, which will be equipped with a pilot lab, sensory testing capabilities and a test kitchen, is expected to open in the first half of 2022.

“The best-in-class R&D team we are building in Shanghai represents the next leg in our journey to become a global protein company,” said Dariush Ajami, PhD, chief innovation officer at Beyond Meat. “This new resource will enable us to more precisely serve the palate of the Chinese consumer and contribute directly to the culture’s delicious cuisine, while joining our global effort to deliver plant-based meats that are indistinguishable from, healthier than, and over time, priced at parity with their animal protein equivalents.”

Beyond Meat this past April opened a manufacturing plant in Jiaxing near Shanghai, its first end-to-end manufacturing operation outside of the United States. The facility produces plant-based beef and poultry alternatives as well as Beyond Pork, which specifically was designed for the Chinese market. The new innovation center in Shanghai and increased production capabilities in Jiaxing are expected to accelerate Beyond Meat’s expansion in Asia.