SAN FRANCISCO—Chip and solar panel equipment supplier Applied Materials Inc. will cut about 250 jobs and relocate manufacturing for its solar wafer systems from Switzerland to Asia, the company said Thursday (May 10).
In a regulatory filing, Applied (Santa Clara, Calif.) said its board of directors approved the plan to restructure its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) unit in light of challenging industry conditions affecting the solar photovoltaic (PV) and light-emitting diode (LED) equipment markets. The actions undertaken are consistent with the Applied's previously-stated goal to reduce the EES segment’s annual revenue breakeven level to $500 million in fiscal 2013, the company said.
As part of the plan, Applied said it expects to relocate manufacturing for its Precision Wafering System (PWS) solar business based in Cheseaux, Switzerland, to Asia. PWS business operations and customer support functions will be relocated primarily to Treviso, Italy, the headquarters for Applied’s Baccini Cell Systems, and Xi’an, China, the site of Applied’s Solar Technology Center, the company said.
PWS’s headquarters and new product development will remain in Switzerland, Applied said.. The plan also includes significant reductions in development activities for LED, the company said.
Workforce-related actions will be finalized and implemented in accordance with local legal requirements and in consultation with employees and employee representative bodies, as required, Applied said.
The estimated pre-tax cost of implementing the restructuring plan is expected to be between $70 million and $100 million, Applied said. The cost will be incurred over the next 12 to 18 months, the company said.
Applied Materials never established any manufacturing in Switzerland. They bought an established Swiss design and manufacturing company and now are taking the advanced designs and manufacturing technology and run with it to Asia for the purpose of higher profits only. These dear US companies have been handing now for too long the entire industrial might over to China and all of it for short term profits only. What else? Where is Applied heading in the future is the ultimate question? Perhaps Mongolia?
Yea, agree with you - nevertheless, looking at the trend to date, looks like organizations are also moving R&D into ASEAN region, very likely due to the intensives provided by AFTA or respective nation's government in that region - just to share.
Short term profits is definitely what's at stake here, and your mention of Foxconn is right on target.
Even now, hasn't Foxconn started to make some concessions recently, with respect to the workers, following pressure from Apple?
Eventually, the workers themselves will be pushing back, against such practices as living in dormitories, or 60+ hour work weeks, just as they did in the West.
That's when the tide of manufacturing (and design?) jobs toward China will abate. This is the natural order of things.
Parenthetically, we still have India and the African continent with lots and lots of low-cost labor. This takes time.
I very much doubt that anyone in the US would adopt a Chinese lifestyle BECAUSE the US government tells them to. Although it is true that people are moving closer in to cities, rather than go further and further out as they used to in the 1950s and beyond. The trend is definitely shifting back.
As to how long the Chinese people will allow their government to dictate their lives, that will be fascinating to watch. I'm reminded of Rumania, end of 1989. Hopefully, it will be a peaceful and gradual change.
So far the chinese govt is quite conscious and blocks this trend. ie. no suburban expansion, high rise apt instead of independent house.
In general all chinese need is a 2 bedroom flat and $5000 to fill it up with cheap electronics (as US) and furnitures.
cheap utility cost, transportation cost, close ties with ur neighbor, low carbon footprint....
that's the spirit of chinese power.
Chinese themselves will leave this "efficient" lifestyle behind as they make more money and accumulate more wealth. Just like Japan did in 1980s,.. just as USA did in 1900's,.. Just as England did in 1800's, just like France did in 1700's,... Just like Spain did in 1600's... The Dutch.. The Italians... The Greeks... The Egyptians... And now its China's turn to rise to the top of the heap. And after they've eaten their fill, they'll decline just like each one of their predecessors did and for exactly the same reasons. This phenomena is known as: "Economic Succession" and is naturally occurring in our civilization. Chinese are very smart and already know this. They have this saying: "Wealth only lasts for three generations." And they are right. Just look at our USA Post WW2 third generation. US$16Trillion in debt. Yes, USA parents are giving our kids a real good head start in life, yea? Greed comes in many forms, doesn't it?
As soon as our business-unfriendly governments get out of their way and stay out of their way. Business is 100% about profits, the world is a small place now, and the profits belong to the owners, not the government or other social interests. Owners can't make profit in Country "A", fine... move to country "B." Its that simple.
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