Applied Materials

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is seeking to expand its business in China through the formation of a holding company, the chip-equipment company announced late Wednesday.

San Jose, Calif.-based Applied Materials said it is awaiting approval from governmental agencies in China on its holding company application, which was filed last month.

"Only a limited number of global companies have been granted holding company status that allows them to act as local Chinese companies with greater flexibility in structuring corporate operations, providing a wider scope of services and forming joint ventures," the company said in a prepared statement.

Applied Materials currently employs 300 in China and has been operating in the country since 1984. If its application is approved, Applied Materials said it would establish an engineering and software support center in Xi'an.