Seagate set to expand Korat plant
Seagate Technology, a world leader in hard disk drives and data storage equipment, has earmarked 15.3 billion baht to expand its Nakhon Ratchasima factory under a five-year plan.
Construction of the California-based firm's new facility is scheduled for 2016-20, said Jeffrey Nygaard, senior vice-president for global head operations.
"The expansion is to accommodate the new wave of technology for making cloud-based storage equipment, ranging from storage components to computing systems," he said.
"We expect the new facility to begin operations in 2016, at a time when we will be well positioned for future growth from cloud computing revenue."
Out of the 15.3-billion-baht budget, 4.6 billion will go to construction costs and 10.7 billion to installing machinery and equipment.
Nakhon Ratchasima is home to Seagate's biggest hard disk drive plant in the world.
Mr Nygaard said the expansion would nearly double usable space at the complex to 237,856 square metres.
The new investment will create 2,500 jobs, up from the current combined staff of 16,000 at the Nakhon Ratchasima and Samut Prakan factories.
Seagate wants to continue expanding its capacity in Thailand, hailing the comparative cost structure for engineers and managers, the competency of local teams and the country's logistical advantage.
"The Asia-Pacific region is our crucial market, as it contributed revenue of over 40% of the total in our fiscal 2014 ending in June," Mr Nygaard said.
Since setting up in Thailand 32 years ago, Seagate has invested 80 billion baht in the country and generated export value of 1.7 trillion baht.
The company plans to spend 1.8 billion baht on research and development in 2015, equal to last year's spending.
A bright future in data storage is assured, Mr Nygaard said, citing demand for video content, social media, big data analytics and cloud-based services.
Ajarin Pattanapanchai, a senior adviser to the Board of Investment, said Seagate developed eight projects in Thailand in the past eight years worth a combined 55.6 billion baht.
Thailand serves as a hard disk drive and storage manufacturing base for Seagate, Western Digital and Hitachi.