WAKO Electronics Sdn Bhd (RWEM), one of the earliest Japanese firms to invest in Malaysia, is set to build the world’s single largest facility to produce diodes in Kota Baharu, Kelantan. Its President Yukihiro Takizawa said the $73 million expansion would double its production capacity from the current seven billion units of diodes, which is an electronic component.
Its global market share is also poised to grow to 30% from 19% at present.
The expansion project, which is currently at the design phase, would add another 38,250 metres of space to the existing facility, Takizawa said when announcing the company’s expansion plan at a media briefing.
Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Malaysian Industrial Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.
Takizawa said construction of the new phase was scheduled to begin in July this year and completed by August 2016.
He said with advanced technology in place and high efficiency manufacturing equipment, the facility would boost the company’s production capacity and serve future demand for discrete semiconductors.
“This expansion project will bring more positive economic benefits to the country, especially Kelantan, in the form of job opportunities and business for local suppliers,” he said.
In line with the Group’s initiative of taking steps to ensure stable product supply to customers worldwide, Takizawa said the company would construct a protective wall at its Kota Baharu facility to guard against flooding.
RWEM, the Malaysian subsidiary of Japan-based ROHM Co Ltd and ROHM Wako Co Ltd, is the largest foreign company in Kelantan.
It entered the Malaysian market back in 1988 with the production of its fixed carbon resister in Shah Alam, through the Look East policy introduced by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Since its inception, the company has invested a total of $250 million in the country.
Asked on the sales outlook for the Malaysian operation, he said it was expected to increase to more than $243 million for the current financial year from $216 million in the financial year to March 31, 2013.
Besides Malaysia, the group has operations in Thailand, the Philippines, China, Japan and Korea. The bulk of its products are exported to the European countries and the United States.