Japanese electronic products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation reportedly plans to close its lithium battery plant in Kaizuka, Osaka, during the financial year 2012, and move the related production to Suzhou, near Shanghai, China.
The company said that they hope to lower the manufacturing costs by using the cheaper labor in China, so as to enhance their competition against South Korean manufacturers, which benefit from the depreciation of South Korea's Won. The company also said that the 350 employees in Kaizuka plant will be transferred to its other factories in Japan.
The market demand for lithium batteries used on mobile phones and laptops is growing and most of Panasonic's lithium batteries are currently made in Japan. However, the company is relocating the manufacturing from Kaizuka to its new lithium battery plant beside its existing plant in Suzhou. By 2015, the company is expected to increase the ratio of lithium batteries made in China to 50%.