Dell may build US notebooks in Malaysia

Amid global concern over a slowdown in the US PC market, Dell Computer this week announced a major expansion of its manufacturing capacity in Malaysia and says it may use factories there to build notebook PCs for customers in the Americas.

          Amid global concern over a slowdown in the US PC market, Dell Computer this week announced a major expansion of its manufacturing capacity in Malaysia and says it may use factories there to build notebook PCs for customers in the Americas.

          The build-to-order PC and server maker is set to begin operation in February at a 46.5-acre site on the mainland of Malaysia. The new factory has one-and-a-half times the floor space of Dell's existing Malaysian manufacturing site, Asia Pacific Customer Center (APCC) in Bayan Lepas on the island of Penang.

          The added factory space -- 330,000 square feet (about 32,000 square meters) will roughly double Dell's production capacity in Malaysia, to approximately 1.6 million units per year, says company spokeswoman Doris Lau. Both facilities can produce all the desktop PC, notebook and server products Dell sells around the world.

          The new facility, APCC 2, will initially focus on manufacturing for Asia-Pacific markets, excluding China and Hong Kong, according to a company statement. Technical support, call centres, marketing and other functions will remain at the existing APCC.

          At the same time, the company is studying the possibility of producing and shipping Dell notebooks from Malaysia to the Americas. Among the target markets being studied are the US and Latin America, Lau says. The move would ensure continued cost competitiveness for Dell in those markets, according to the statement.

          Dell built APCC 2 in anticipation of continued growth in demand in the region. The existing facility in Penang was completed in 1995.

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