Samsung Electronics ceased notebook computer production in South Korea in April, relocating its entire domestic production facility to China. The relocation of notebook computer production lines to China is expected to once again trigger controversy about the hollowing out of the domestic manufacturing industry.
Major Korean electronics makers have been asserting that they would relocate domestic plants for low-end electronics goods to China but are increasingly repositioning their production facilities for high-end, high value-added information technology products in an attempt to gain an edge in price competition with foreign rivals. The electronics heavyweight suspended domestic production of microwave ovens in 2004.
Samsung Electronics completed the relocation of its notebook production facilities to its Suzhou plant in China in the first quarter of this year and shut down its production lines in the Suwon industrial complex in April 2005.
Following the relocation, only R&D, marketing, and product development functions of Samsung's notebook PC operations will remain in Korea. Annual notebook production of Samsung's Suwon plant continued to shrink from 483,000 units in 2002 to 451,000 units in 2003, and 128,000 units in 2004.
Samsung's Suzhou plant has an annual notebook production capacity of 1 million units. The Chinese production affiliate also produces digital media products such as digital versatile disc (DVD) players, digital televisions, and color monitors. The electronics maker plans to boost the share of overseas production of digital media products to 90 percent by year's end from 85 percent in 2004. (The Korea Times)
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