Panasonic to make India a production hub

Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp said yesterday that it plans to export home appliances from India as part of its plans to make India a manufacturing hub, and product shipments from the country are expected to begin in 2013-14.
''We will focus on India as a manufacturing base. We are seriously considering starting exports from India and at present studying various markets around the world that are suitable for products manufactured here,'' Panasonic India vice president Yutaka Suzuki told PTI.
Panasonic is building a large plant with an investment of over Rs1,150 crore ($220 million) in Jhajjar, Haryana. The 37,000-sq.m plant will produce a wide range of home appliances and other products.
With the commissioning of the new plant towards the end of the year, Panasonic hopes to expand the reach of its products to other countries as well.
 ''We are looking for similar markets like Africa and Middle East. We have not finalised the products that will be exported, but it is likely to start with air conditioners and washing machines,'' Suzuki said.
Although Suzuki has not specifically mentioned any target date for exports from India, it is believed that it will begin towards the end of 2014-15 fiscal year.
In its first phase, the Jhajjar plant will manufacture air conditioners, washing machines and welding systems, and in the second phase, refrigerators, automotive systems, flat panel TVs, microwave ovens etc will also be produced.
With the commissioning of the new unit, Panasonic would not have to import air-conditioners, washing machines and welding system to meet the Indian demand, for which it currently relies on the plants in Malaysian and Thailand.
The Jhajjar plant would create around 1,500 jobs in the first phase and over 2,000 jobs thereafter.
Currently, Panasonic has and LCD panel manufacturing unit in Noida, UP with an annual production capacity of 600,000 units. It also produces automatic rice cookers from its Chennai plant.
The company also plans to produce plasma and large TVs in India by 2015, which are currently imported from Thailand.
Last week, Panasonic launched its range of water purifiers 'Panasonic Blue' which is claimed to suit the Indian environment keeping in mind the different levels of hardness and impurities. It has also introduced its Nanoe air purifiers to address air pollution concerns.
For the initial six months, the company intends to import these products from Japan and thereafter will start local assembly through an agreement with Mumbai-based Ion Exchange (India) Ltd.
Panasonic had set a revenue target of Rs12,500 crore from its consumer durables business in India by 2015, more than double its present level of around 5,500 crore, as part of the company's overall strategy to achieve 25,000 crore in revenues including other businesses.