National Instruments sets up largest R&D facility in Malaysia outside US
Texas-based National Instruments Corp (NI), a global leader in test, measurement, and embedded systems solutions provider, is investing in an integrated operations centre in Malaysia, which will house its largest research and development (R&D) facility outside the US as well as its expanded manufacturing operations here.
NI’s expansion in Penang is part of the company’s plan to make Malaysia its main hub in Asia for its manufacturing and R&D activities.
The centre will also undertakes supply chain, product distribution, product services, IT and finance functions, NI Penang Managing Director, Raj Purushothaman said at a media briefing on the company’s expansion plans, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
NI Penang R&D Vice-President, Scott Rust, who was also present, said “Malaysia’s highly talented and creative human resource, excellent university system, cost-competitive environment and the strong government’s support are attuned to the company’s global R&D growth plan.
The new 314,000 sq ft office and manufacturing section being built on a 23 ha site in Batu Maung, Penang is scheduled to be ready in the fourth quarter of the year.
The new facility will create over 1,000 additional jobs, 20% of which will be for researchers and engineers, from its current 165 employees.
Rust said the new facility would assist to accelerate the launch of new and innovative products to meet the needs of its customers.
With the expansion, NI is expecting its revenue to double to US$2 billion (RM6.34 billion) within five years as the bigger Penang operations is anticipated to account for some 40% of the group’s total manufacturing capacity in five years, he added.
NI set up its base in Malaysia in 2009 with investments of some US$80 million and began operations in a rented premise. Within a short span of three years, the company is now building its facility as it grows its business in Malaysia.
Meanwhile other American multinational companies including Honeywell, Dell, Intel, General Electric, Western Digital and Motorola have also set up and expanded their operations in Malaysia.
The Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed in his speech read by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said the setting-up of NI’s project in Malaysia is a reflection of the country’s competitiveness as an offshore location for foreign investors.
Malaysia’s resilient economy, developed infrastructure, an established network of supporting industries and the availability of human talents as well as the government’s business-friendly policies would continue to ensure that Malaysia remains conducive and competitive for business.
The Minister said the US emerged as the third largest source of foreign direct investments in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector with RM2.5 billion last year, which were concentrated in electrical and electronics (E&E), chemical and chemicals products, transport equipment and wood & wood products.
The E&E industry remains a major contributor to Malaysia's gross domestic product growth as well as exports.
For the first five months of the year, E&E exports accounted for some 32.27% of the country’s total exports and 48.73% of its manufactured exports.
Last year, Malaysia attracted some RM20 billion in E&E investments.
Malaysia has indentified test and measurement sector as a key enabler for a number of other sectors in particular the growth of the electronics sector in Malaysia’s towards achieving a gross national income of RM1.3 billion and creating some 7,000 additional jobs by 2020, he added.
Adapted from NST Business Times and StarBiz 27 July 2012, NI website and MIDA
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