Fujifilm comes to Laguna

Fujifilm says the Philippines was chosen as an investment location because of the youthful work force with a good working attitude of Filipino workers

JAPAN EYES PHILIPPINES. Fujifilm is the latest in a series of Japanese companies who have launched manufacturing facilities in the Philippines. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – A unit of the Japanese camera brand, Fujifilm Corp. has started full-scale production of optical lenses in its newly opened plant in Laguna.

Optical lenses are used in consumer and professional imaging devices such as smartphones, broadcast cameras and projectors.

In a press briefing in its plant in Carmelray International Business Park on Monday, 15 July, Fujifilm Optics President Akinori Harada said the facility implements an integrated process in the production of optical lenses for digital cameras, projectors and surveillance cameras.

Fujifilm Corp President and COO Shigehiro Nakajima said the Philippines was chosen as an investment location because of the country’s young workforce and good working attitude Filipino workers are known for.

Also taken into consideration were the attractive incentives provided to the economic zone.

“Filipinos are hard workers. The turnover rate in the Philippines is lower compared to other countries,” he said through an interpreter.

“The government also provides very good tax incentives,” he added.

Fujifilm Optics formally opened its new plant in the Carmelray International Business Park in Laguna last May. Construction of the plant began in November 2012.

The company invested P990 million in the new plant, which occupies less than a hectare of the 5.3-hectare leased property.

The plant is expected to produce two million optical lenses in its first year of its operations, which will expand to 18 million lens units in 2015.

The optical lens plant in Laguna currently has 100 workers, which will be gradually increased to 600 by 2015.

Fujifilm Corp operates several factories in China and is building one in Vietnam.

Nakajima said the current facility in Laguna may be expanded in the future because it occupies a small portion of the leased property.

“We are considering a factory for fully-assembled digital cameras but we cannot put a timeframe on it yet,” he said.

Around 30% of the optical lenses produced in the factory will be sold to economic zone locators while the balance will be exported to China and Japan.

Fujifilm has been selling photographic film to the Philippines since 1974 through a network of distributors. As demand for photographic film fell, the company shifted its business focus to optical devices and electronic imaging.

This comes at a time when a number of Japanese manufacturing companies are eyeing up the Philippines as a place to set up shop.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe had said that there is a long list of Japanese firms looking to move to the Philippines. “There are quite a few Japanese companies coming into the Philippines,” Urabe said at the Makati Business Club and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce joint membership meeting on Tuesday, June 25.

There are roughly 1,700 Japanese companies located in the Philippines. These include Cemedine Philippines Corp., which manufactures and sells adhesive, ceiling and related products; Bandai, the toy maker of Power Rangers and Gundam fame.

Many of these companies are targeting Asia, Latin America and Europe for exports, according to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines (JCCIP), which has 500 member-companies. – with reports from Aya Lowe/Rappler.com


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