Panasonic pulls plug on white goods production in Thailand

22, May. 2020

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. will this year bring to an end decades of white goods production in Thailand, part of its global restructuring in the home appliance sector.

In a bid to streamline manufacturing bases in Asia to better compete with Chinese and South Korean rivals, the company is moving production of washing machines and refrigerators to Vietnam, Yuuka Fujita, a spokeswoman at the Osaka headquarters, told NNA on Wednesday.

Panasonic Appliances (Thailand) Co. plans to stop production of washing machines at the end of September, and refrigerators by the end of October, after over 40 years of operations, winding itself up on March 31, 2021. The Japanese group will transfer production of the two items to a base near Hanoi, Fujita said.

Last year, Panasonic switched air-conditioner manufacturing from Thailand to Malaysia, where the group has a global production hub with annual output capacity of 2.8 million units of such products, shipping them to over 120 countries and regions, she said.

In Thailand, Panasonic began producing air conditioners in 2017 with annual capacity of 500,000 units, largely supplying these to emerging countries in Asia, according to the spokeswoman.

The move is "part of the strategy to establish an efficient production scheme," she said. By restructuring home appliance manufacturing in Southeast Asia, the Japanese group intends to cut labor and parts procurement costs, as Chinese and South Korean competitors boost market share in the region.

The global coronavirus pandemic and subsequent slowdown in demand for white goods were not behind the move, Fujita added. (NNA/Kyodo)