Toshiba unveils plan to invest $1B in Southeast Asia

Just days after announcing job cuts in its global PC business, the Japanese hardware vendor says it will invest US$1 billion over the next five years in Southeast Asia and wants to double sales to US$7 billion.

Just days after announcing staff layoffs in its PC business, Toshiba has unveiled plans to expand its business in Southeast Asia that include a US$1 billion investment and sales target of US$7 billion. 

President and CEO Hisao Tanaka told reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, that the Japanese technology vendor will pump in US$1 billion over the next five years to grow its presence in the region. Noting that Southeast Asia has been a strategic manufacturing hub for Toshiba's major businesses, including semiconductors and hard-disk drives, Tanaka said the company is targeting to double its current sales in the region to US$7 billion. 

Part of its plans include a new infrastructure business in Indonesia, scheduled to begin operations soon, and major initiatives in the healthcare sector, according to a statement released Wednesday.

The CEO said Toshiba is constructing a medical equipment manufacturing plant in Malaysia, to support a medical equipment sales company that was established there in June. The company had earlier identified healthcare as one of its three main pillars of business, he added. 

"Southeast Asia currently enjoys positive benefits Japan does not have, including high economic growth and a young, highly capable workforce," Tanaka noted. "We have located many important strategic manufacturing hubs in the region. Because of this, ensuring stable power supply, putting in place disaster prevention measures, and upgrading social infrastructure are all as important to us as they are to people here."

The announcement comes days after Toshiba said it would slash 900 jobs globally as part of a restructuring plan involving its PC business. The move was necessary to "secure consistent profit", it said, adding that the cuts would help reduce costs by more than US$184 million. 

It then added that it would also be expanding its business-to-business (B2B) product range and was expecting sales in this segment to grow by over 50 percent in the fiscal year of 2016.