No more manufacturing BlackBerry in Penang

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GEORGE TOWN – Electronics manufacturing services provider Flextronics International’s decision to exit from manufacturing BlackBerry phones in Penang is not expected to adversely affect its operations here.

The company, which in recent months announced its decision to downsize its business relationship with the smartphone maker Research in Motion (RIM), is also not expected to lay off any of its employees.

Flextronics’ investment presence in Malaysia dates back to more than a decade and the company produces anything from printers and smartphone cameras to computer parts, medical devices and solar panels at its facilities in Penang, Selangor and Johor.

The financial woes of Canadian wireless solutions developer RIM have been known for some time, with the latest being that it has hired a team of bankers to help it weigh its options in moving forward.

The company has struggled to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and devices running Google’s Android software.

Since July last year, several smartphone modelss from the BlackBerry portfolio were being produced in Penang for distribution worldwide, RIM had announced.

The company did not state that it had outsourced the production of the smartphones to Flextronics at the time.

In May, Flextronics’ president of High Velocity Solutions, Mike Dennison, had said during the Flextronics Investor and Analyst Day that its working relationship with RIM was going to be downsized as RIM changed and modified its business.

“We are okay with that,” he had said. “They are a great partner of ours and we work very hard to make sure the solutions we have in place are solutions that make sense and when they don’t make sense, we don’t just chase a buck.”

Meanwhile, a RIM spokesman, when asked to comment on whether the company has terminated its business relationship with Flextronics in Malaysia, said in an email reply: “We do not normally comment on specific supplier relationships.

“As we outlined in previous earnings calls, we are making changes to our supply chain as part of wider efforts to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of RIM’s operations.” – Business Times