In Asia Pacific, we were able to exceed the sales level of the record year 2010. Thanks to the full-year inclusion of the acquired Cognis businesses, the startup of new plants, and higher price levels, sales of companies based in this region rose by 14% to €13,316 million. In local currency terms, sales rose by 16%. All divisions contributed to this positive development. Negative currency effects were mainly offset by very strong demand in the first half of the year.
However, income from operations declined by €138 million to €1,133 million due to increased raw material costs and weakening demand in the second half of the year. In addition, as in the previous year, plant shutdowns resulted in high charges.
We continue to rigorously optimize our cost structures and standardize our systems landscapes, for example through the migration of all of our IT systems onto one platform. In 2011, we moved forward with the implementation of our Strategy 2020 in Asia Pacific. Our main goal is to grow on average two percentage points faster than the Asia Pacific chemical market each year. We aim to generate 70% of our sales from local production; in 2011, this figure already stood at around 60%.
We stepped up our investing activities in the region. In China, we completed the second expansion of our Verbund site in Nanjing: Along with the successful expansion of the steam cracker, we started up several new plants in 2011 including a butadiene extraction plant and a nonionic surfactants plant. In addition, construction is scheduled to begin on a production complex for superabsorbents in the middle of 2012. With our joint venture partner, Sinopec, we are also planning new investment projects of around $1 billion, including new plants for the production of HPPO, acrylic acid and butyl acrylate. In order to take full advantage of our opportunities in China, we are also investing in the growing markets of the inland provinces. In April 2011, for example, we began construction in Chongqing of a production plant for MDI, a precursor for polyurethanes.
Together with our partner, PETRONAS, we want to expand our specialties business in Malaysia.
We are making targeted investments in successful business areas, such as the expansion of our catalyst plants in Shanghai, China, and in Ibaraki, Japan, and the strengthening of our business with the semiconductor industry in Taiwan. In order to attune our research even better to regional customer needs, we are also building the first Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Shanghai, where around 450 researchers and developers will work starting at the end of 2012.