APPLE CLOSING CIRCUIT BOARD PLANT IN ASIA

Comments Email Print

SINGAPORE — Apple Computer Ltd. in Singapore will close down its printed circuit board plant and lay off 250 employees in its 450,000-square-foot facility by August, as part of ongoing efforts to pare global manufacturing costs. In mid-April, Apple Computer shut down its local design center and laid off 101 production workers, engineers and support personnel. The company is now left with 550 employees and some contract workers, after having invested around $214 million in Singapore.

The retrenchments came shortly after Apple's Hong Kong-based marketing services director, Donald Cheung, said that the firm was doing very well in Asia, and that no job cuts were planned for the region.

It is, however, increasingly apparent that all of Apple's production plants are under scrutiny in its latest round of global restructuring to slash $400 million a year in costs.

Still, Apple's outsourcing drive has proven to be a boon to regional contract manufacturers, such as plastics processors, according to industry sources.

Local suppliers eyeing a share of Apple's PCB business include Omni Plastic Pte. Ltd. and Fu Yu Manufacturing Ltd.

Last July, Apple signed an agreement with ST Electronics Systems Assembly Pte. Ltd. of the state-held Singapore Technologies Industrial Corp. Ltd. to make high-end monitors in a deal worth $150 million a year.

``We are outsourcing some of our requirements of PCBs worldwide and will do so here as well,'' said James McCluney, Apple's U.S.-based senior vice president of worldwide operations.

For the second quarter, ended March 28, the company posted an operating loss of $186 million.