Electro-optical firms rush to relocate production to eastern China

Dec 23, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ben, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 23, 2003 (CENS)--In line with the relocation of upstream makers of digital cameras, domestic manufacturers of electro-optical components, including Largan Precision Co., Ltd., Asia Optical Co., Ltd., and Kinko Optical Co., Ltd. Have successively set up production facilities in eastern China.

Since the beginning of this year, many manufacturers of digital cameras have moved their production facilities from southern China to eastern area.

Recently Largan announced it has set up a new plant in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Asia Optical will launch mass production at its new plant in Songjiang of Shanghai in the beginning of next year. Kinko has recently resolved to cooperate with digital camera maker Altek Corp. to launch a joint-venture plant specializing in the production of molds and plastic optical lens in Suzhou.

Although the digital camera industry has converged in southern China for many years, over the past two years some foreign newcomers have selected eastern China as production center, causing domestic related firms to follow suit.

At present, the big firms that have set up production facilities in eastern China are Sony Corp., Fujifilm Co. of Japan and Kodak of the U.S., each setting up production centers in Shanghai, Suzhou and Songjiang, respectively.

As of the end of last year, the three above-mentioned big makers had monthly production capacity of only 200,000 digital cameras in the mainland, which couldn't attract domestic manufacturers of electro-optical components to follow suit. But since the beginning of this year, the three firms have been expanding production capacity there.

Kodak has relocated its production facility from Japan to Songjiang; Sony and Fujifilm also have plans to expand mainland production capacity. In addition, another digital camera maker Nikon Co. has recently completed the construction of a new plant in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.

Seeing the move of the upstream manufacturers of digital camera, domestic manufacturers of electro-optical components are rushing to relocate their production facilities to eastern China.

Largan, which set up a new production facility in eastern China earlier than other domestic rivals, recently announced it would launch mass production sometime in the second quarter of next year at its new plant in Suzhou. But Asia Optical is said to launch mass production at its new plant in Songjiang in the beginning of next year, ahead of Largan.

Currently, Asia Optical has two plants in southern China, each in Dongguan and Shenzhen of Guangdong Province, respectively. The company 's Songjiang plant will have more production capacity than the Dongguan one and equal to that of the Shenzhen plant.

For domestic electro-optical manufacturers, relocating plants to eastern China is an inevitable penchant because of the relocation of Japanese firms of digital cameras. In addition to the Japanese upstream firms, some domestic manufacturers of the same products have also set up production facilities in eastern China, including BenQ Corp., Microtek International Inc., Umax Data System Inc.
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