Panasonic plans to shift battery production to China
Panasonic is planning to close its Kaizuka plant in Osaka Prefecture within fiscal 2012 and shift its lithium ion battery production to Suzhou, China. 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. Panasonic 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.
Panasonic, along with subsidiary Sanyo, currently holds a 20- plus percent share of the global market for all types of lithium ion batteries. While the company 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.