GLOBAL printing giant Epson is bullish on prospects for growth in the Philippines, aiming to take advantage of what it sees as one of the leading markets in Southeast Asia with a P4.7 billion plant expansion scheduled to open in late 2017, a company executive said.
Speaking to reporters in Siargao, Surigao del Norte, Epson Philippines Corporation President and Country Manager Toshimitsu Tanaka said they are expecting their business to grow in the Philippines with the expansion of its production plant in Batangas.
“I think the factory in the Philippines is one of the biggest among Asian factories,” Tanaka said, referring to the Epson manufacturing plant located in the Lima Technology Park in Lipa, Batangas.
According to Tanaka, the Batangas plant is currently the biggest Epson factory outside Japan, and its P4.7 billion expansion will make it the biggest manufacturing plant in Asia.
“Many factories are located in the Philippines, Indonesia, and China. But after the new factory expansion in Batangas, maybe the Philippines is the biggest,” Tanaka said.
He said the Batangas plant currently employs 12,500 workers and the planned expansion could grow the labor force by more than 20,000.
Scheduled to start operating in 2017, the new plant will have 100,000 square meters of floor space. With its 10-hectare floor area, Epson will be the biggest manufacturing plant in the country.
Tanaka said the company’s plan is to increase production of projectors and large-capacity inkjet printers, sales of which are growing primarily in developing countries, including the Philippines, Asean member states, Latin America, China, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
“At this moment, the Philippines is the highest growth country in Asean. So we want to focus on the Philippines,” Tanaka said.
However, he said, growth is still dependent on the new policies of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
“He’s a very powerful guy. But I’m not sure about the new policies of his government. If he wants to focus on education, for example, in this case, we have so many business opportunities for projectors. But it’s up to the President’s direction,” Tanaka said.
“I think one of the key points for international companies is safety or security. So if they focus on safety and security, there will be more international companies that would invest in the Philippines,” he added.