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Panasonic Mulls Shifting Battery Production To China

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 10:22am
The Associated Press

OSAKA, May 2 (Kyodo) — Panasonic Corp. is planning to close its Kaizuka plant in Osaka Prefecture within fiscal 2012 and shift its lithium ion battery production to Suzhou, China, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The move is aimed at gaining access to low-cost labor in China and cutting production costs to compete with South Korean manufacturers who have been increasing their presence on the back of favorable exchange rates for the won.

The company has already conveyed to the labor union its intent to maintain employment of some 350 workers at the Kaizuka plant by transferring them to other plants within Japan, they said.

While Panasonic currently manufactures most of its lithium ion batteries for mobile phones and personal computers within Japan, it aims to raise the ratio of Chinese production to 50 percent by 2015, the sources said.

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