Sumitomo Rubber Industries to get subsidy from Japan, double glove output in Malaysia

22, Jul. 2020


KUALA LUMPUR, NNA – Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. will double its Malaysian plant’s output of rubber gloves in 2021 in response to growing demand amid the global COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.

Sumitomo Rubber, headquartered in the western Japan city of Kobe, made the decision at the request of the Japanese government, a spokesman in Tokyo told NNA Tuesday. The company will export gloves to Japan from next year for use in medical institutions and workers at food maker factories.

The company will spend 150 million yen ($1.4 million) to install another production line for thin nitrile rubber gloves at a factory in Sungai Petani of northern Malaysia. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will offer a 75 million yen subsidy for the project.

Rubber glove output at the Malaysia factory will increase to 2 million pairs a month in May after the production line is finished, the spokesman said.

The company will seek to export gloves from the factory to other countries in the future, he said. He anticipated a rise in demand in Asia, Africa and other regions as people’s awareness of hygiene is growing.

“Although our rubber glove business accounts for a small ratio of our entire sales, the demand for rubber gloves will remain brisk all over the world even after the pandemic of new corona virus ends,” the spokesman said.

The company donated 97,500 pairs of thin nitrile rubber gloves to the Japanese government in April to support medical institutions responding to the disease spread.

The Sungai Petani factory, operated by local subsidiary Sumirubber Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., began operations in 1981. Today it makes rubber gloves and sealants to repair punctured tires. Sumitomo Rubber produces rubber gloves only in Malaysia.

Sumitomo Rubber is one of 30 Japanese firms recently named recipients of official subsidies from the economy ministry. Subsidies are aimed at promoting Japan's drive to diversify supply chains and reduce dependence on China.