Panasonic denies rumors it will close Vietnam plants

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Panasonic has rejected speculation that the Japanese electronics maker plans to move its factories in Vietnam to Indonesia, saying it is committed to a long-term investment in the country.

Last week, Bloomberg quoted the chairman of Indonesia's investment coordinating board in Jakarta as saying that Panasonic Corp. might move its factories in Vietnam and Japan.

But Panasonic Vietnam spokeswoman Nguyen Thi Thanh Minh said there were no plans to relocate the Vietnam factories to Indonesia. Minh was speaking on behalf of Shinya Abe, general director of Panasonic Vietnam.

Minh told Thanh Nien Weekly that the giant manufacturer had begun operations in Vietnam in 1996 by establishing factories in Ho Chi Minh City and three others in Hanoi to produce television sets, refrigerators, and electronic components for domestic and export markets.

The corporation has a total registered capital of US$140 million in Vietnam and 7,000 employees in the factories here, according to Minh.

"Our significant investment shows a long term commitment to contributing to Vietnamese society, in terms of developing manufacturing, and developing human resources for the country," she said.

Japanese electronics maker Sony shut down production in Vietnam in 2008, transforming its 100 percent wholly owned affiliate to a 100 percent trading unit in 2008.

he move came just before the government opened the retail market for foreign businesses in 2009.

Sony, which had employed 200 local employees, said the decision was aimed at enjoying the new policy that offered electronics businesses the opportunity to trade imported products directly in Vietnam rather than manufacturing them in the country.

 Japanese electronics manufacturer Toshiba announced in February it would close its consumer product unit in Vietnam, but the timing of the move has yet to be decided upon.

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