National Instruments to set up its largest R&D facility outside US in Penang

KUALA LUMPUR: US-based National Instruments (NI) is aiming to set up its largest research and development (R&D) facility outside the United States with the expansion of its facilities in Penang.

“Currently we are operating in a rented space. With this expansion, we will have our own infrastructure to support our business in the region,” NI Penang managing director Raj Purushothaman told a press briefing on the expansion plans of the company yesterday.

The company also aims to increase its manufacturing capacity to support an additional US$1bil in the company’s growth.

Raj: ‘With this expansion, we will have our own infrastructure to support our business in the region.”

The capacity would add another 40% to its global hardware manufacturing capacity which would include the manufacturing of academic products, embedded controllers, industrial chassis and modular instruments.

Its manufacturing arm is slated to be operational in the fourth quarter.

In tandem with the planned five to 10-year expansion, the company is aiming to expand its local headcount to 1,000-1,500 employees from its current 165.

This includes 250 engineers in electrical, mechanical and engineering management fields.

The technology hardware and software provider began operations in Malaysia in 2009 with an US$80mil capital investment.

Raj said as part of the planned investment, the expansion was envisioned to transform its facilities in Penang to be the Asia-Pacific hub, serving its clients in the region and elsewhere.

“It will be an integrated operations centre, which manages R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, product distribution, product services, IT and finance,” he said.

Its expansion includes the construction of a 314,000 sq ft office and manufacturing space on a 23-acre site in Batu Maung, Penang.

Its manufacturing arm slated to be operational in the fourth quarter would have the capacity to support an additional US$1bil in the company’s growth.

NI is among other American multinationals that have established its presence in Malaysia such as Honeywell, Dell, Intel, General Electric, Western Digital and Motorola.

At the event, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the United States was the third largest foreign investor in the manufacturing sector in 2011 with RM2.5bil.

The investments were mainly in electrical and electronics, chemical and chemicals products, transport equipment and wood & wood products.

“The electrical and electronics (E&E) industry continues to be a major contributor to Malaysia’s gross domestic product growth . For the period January to May 2012, E&E exports were 32.27% of the total country’s exports and 48.73% of the manufactured exports,” he said in his speech delivered by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin.- The Star


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