Japanese electric wire manufacturers are building new bases in China and Southeast Asia, buoyed by Asia’s booming electric vehicle market.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Japanese wire makers are on the look out for expanding sales across Asia as automobile electrification takes off.
Notable among these is Hitachi Metals and Furukawa Electric who are both ramping up their production capacity in Southeast Asia.
Hitachi Metals in particular is building its capacity to produce wire for Electric Parking Brakes (EPBs) in Vietnam and Thailand.
The company will expand production capacity at its existing plants and build new facilities during the first half of fiscal 2020.
It plans to supply EPB wire primarily to Japanese auto-sector manufacturers in Southeast Asia.
EPBs do not require conventional mechanical levers, making it possible to more effectively use space around the driver’s seat.
Hitachi Metals wants to bank on this and is hence in a hurry to expand local processing as it anticipates growing demand for EPB wire in Asia.
Furukawa Electric on the other hand is investing close to $32 million to quadruple its existing local plant’s capacity to produce aluminum wire for automobiles.
The Chiyoda, Tokyo-based company intends to cash in on increasing demand due to greater use of aluminum in EVs to make them lighter.
Another major player in the market, SWCC Showa Holdings, is investing about $6.5 million to relocate and integrate two plants in China.
The company will also establish a system to develop, manufacture and sell EV cables through Jaxing Showa Interconnect Products, its Chinese subsidiary.
Jaxing Showa’s two existing plants, which currently make products like copper wire for consumer electronics, will be combined into a new plant that is scheduled to go online in July 2020.
The Nikkei reports that the new plant will be double the size of the existing two factories’ 10,000 sq. meter area, and will include automated facilities to increase productivity.
EV sales in China are expected to roughly quintuple to about 2.46 million vehicles in 2035, compared with 2017, notes Fuji Keizai, a Tokyo-based research company.
Image and content: Nikkei Asian Review