Sony Corp has announced that it plans to close its Penang factory in Malaysia next year to consolidate its operations in its other plants for efficiency. The factory in Perai, which has been in operation for 36 years, mainly produces home audio products, headphones and battery products.
Some notable Sony products that were produced in the factory include the acclaimed active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, the WH-1000XM3. The plant was also responsible for designing and producing the MHC-V81D sound system that could be connected and synchronised with compatible home audio systems via Bluetooth.
The company told Reuters in an email that it had considered the market conditions, business growth potential and other factors before making the decision. The move was part of the Japanese electronics giant’s continuous review of its investments and business operations.
Sony’s Penang-based human resource division head Ric Ong said, the move was part of Sony’s review process and the company is consolidating its manufacturing operations by transferring its operations in Penang to Selangor to further enhance operational efficiency.
Sony said the factory is set to close in stages and will cease operations by September next year. The closure of the factory will affect close to 3,400 of its workers in Penang. About 1,800 of the workers are locals while another 1,600 are foreigners.
According to Penang’s trade chairman Abdul Halim Hussain who told Free Malaysia Today that some of the Penang employees will be transferred to Sony’s other plant in Bangi which manufactures LCD TVs and Blu-ray players. He added that workers that have been retrenched will receive aid from the state government to find new jobs.
Penang has for decades been a manufacturing hub to many foreign electrical and electronics brands, including Intel Corp, Panasonic Corp and Dell Technologies.
According to Sony’s website, the company had begun its operations in Malaysia back in 1973. Over the years, Sony’s business in Malaysia involved marketing, selling and servicing of consumer electronic products as well as broadcast and professional products and solutions.