Panasonic integrates Malaysian R&D targeting SE Asia, Middle East
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia, NNA – Panasonic Corp. is integrating its Malaysian research and development teams to enhance development of consumer products for Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
The electronics giant has a total of 22,000 employees at 23 affiliates in Malaysia. It wants about 700 R&D employees from various divisions to work more closely together.
Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Berhad established the wholly owned Panasonic Appliances R&D Center Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd. in April.
The R&D center will be fully operational in January, coordinating teams developing air conditioners, ceiling fans and small home appliances like irons and showers.
About 120 engineers at the center in Selangor state near Kuala Lumpur are introducing cutting-edge technologies from Japan, like the Internet of Things and ion particle technology.
Managing Director of Panasonic Malaysia, Toyokatsu Okamoto, told NNA the R&D center will also develop products for the Muslim market, such as cooking tools for halal.
The company is targeting Turkey, which offers lower import tariffs on home appliances from Malaysia compared to tariffs on goods made in China.
Okamoto said falling oil revenues and international economic sanctions have slowed demand from Panasonic Malaysia’s key markets of Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Panasonic Malaysia produces rice cookers, blenders and other small home appliances at its main plant, while making fans and vacuum cleaners at its Shah Alam Plant 2. It has allocated 30 million ringgit ($7.2 million) to expand Plant 2, scheduled for completion in 2020.