GEORGE TOWN: Western Digital Corp is planning to expand its operations in Malaysia after its factory in Batu Kawan Industrial Park, Penang, was recognised as the latest entrant to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Lighthouse Network.
Western Digital’s global flash back-end operations senior vice-president Bock Kim Lee said the US-based hard drive manufacturer planned to expand its manufacturing facility here to build a “control tower” to house offices, a multi-storey carpark that would also house finished goods, and a warehouse, as well as another two facilities currently known as Building 3 and Building 4.
“Within the next three years, I will say that expansion to Building 3 will solidify and capital expenditure (capex) will be allocated. For Building 4, the capex will depend on the progress for the next five years.
“We have been discussing with InvestPenang on what other opportunities we can look at for the next 10 years because we will probably need more space as we have big plans for Malaysia, especially for the flash back-end operations,” he told a virtual joint press conference with chief minister Chow Kon Yeow on its Global Lighthouse Network entry.
Also present was the chief minister’s special investment advisor Lee Kah Choon and Invest Penang chief executive Loo Lee Lian.
The Global Lighthouse Network recognises production sites and value chains that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) technologies at scale.
Western Digital Batu Kawan is one of the 90 sites globally recognised as a leading global smart manufacturing facility.
Bock said Western Digital Batu Kawan, being the first company to receive this distinction in Malaysia, was hopeful that its success story would motivate other players to embark on the journey to change the landscape of the country’s manufacturing sector.
He said the company welcomed industry captains to reach out and visit its facility to learn about its approach and methodology.
Meanwhile, Chow said the significant advancements in technology had enabled businesses to reach new heights with solutions that not only boost productivity but also ensure sustainability.
“The recognition of Western Digital as one of the lighthouses is a great testament that serves as a yardstick for future-proof strategies.
“We are on our journey to a new age of manufacturing where the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are becoming the key components in the production chain,” he said.
According to Chow, Western Digital’s principles and practices are also in tandem with the Penang 2030 vision of “A Family-focused Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation”.