CNET : News : Story Friday, November 05, 1999 

Packard Bell NEC will not shut down Asia Pacific plant
By Julian Matthews
Thursday, November 04 1999

PENANG--Packard Bell NEC will not shut down its Asia Pacific plant in Penang nor layoff any of its staff there or in sales offices in Middle East, Australia or New Zealand.

Company spokesperson Grace Lau confirmed this in a response to CNET Asia following the announcement of drastic restructuring of its US unit with 80 percent staff cuts and withdrawal of the Packard Bell brand from retail shelves.

"There are no cuts in Asia Pacific that we are aware of at this moment," said Lau, who said the company in fact just advertised for new engineers last month.

Packard Bell NEC Malaysia currently has 162 staff and manufactures Packard Bell and NEC brand desktops and notebooks for export to all countries in Asia Pacific, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, but excluding Japan.

The plant which also serves as regional service center was set up in March 1997 with a promised initial investment of US$40 million.

Earlier Thursday, Wim Giezenaar, Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific vice president and managing director issued a press statement that the company was still committed to the region and was unaffected by the developments in US.

He said Packard Bell NEC Asia Pacific answers to its parent company, Packard Bell NEC Europe which has been a profitable organization since its existence in 1991.

Packard Bell NEC's Penang office however has grown far more modestly than its direct, build-to-order competitors Dell and Gateway with plants in Penang and Malacca respectively. Both announced expansion plans and high sales growth this year.

Packard Bell NEC was one of the first PC makers to enter the sub-US$1,000 category in January 1997 and later the sub-US$700 consumer PC category.

At its height it employed 8,000 people worldwide. The former Packard Bell Electronics merged with NEC's PC division outside of Japan in June 1996 to form privately held Packard Bell NEC Inc. Major investors include NEC, Groupe Bull of France and the founders of Packard Bell Electronics.

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