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Kyocera Plans 3 Factories for Its Tijuana Site

April 21, 1988|CHRIS KRAUL | San Diego County Business Editor

SAN DIEGO — Joining the march of Asian electronics giants to Tijuana, Kyocera International has begun construction on the first part of a planned 400,000-square-foot manufacturing complex near the Mexican city's international airport. The Japanese-owned company, which makes ceramics used with semiconductors, expects to begin production there in October.

Over the last two years such Japanese companies as Sony, Hitachi, Matsushita, Canon and Sanyo have relocated or expanded operations in Tijuana. Earlier this month, South Korea's Samsung began building a 95,000-square-foot television assembly plant there.

Attracted by low labor costs, Kyocera bought its 26-acre parcel in the Tijuana International Industrial Park last June but did not disclose its plans then. Kyocera Vice President William Everitt said Wednesday that the first plant in the complex will total 110,000 square feet and will cost up to $10 million to build and equip.

To complete the complex, Kyocera plans to build two more plants. Everitt said Kyocera will employ up to 400 employees at the first building and possibly more than 1,200 once all three plants are operating.

No Layoffs Planned

Kyocera International is the San Diego-based U.S. subsidiary of Kyocera Corp. of Kyoto, the world's largest manufacturer of ceramic semiconductor packages, controlling more than 60% of the market. The packages are the ceramic wafer in which tiny semiconductors, the heart of computers and other electronics equipment, are placed and sealed. Kyocera International accounted for about one-quarter of the parent company's 1987 revenue of more than $2 billion, Everitt said.

Kyocera Corp.--which also makes Yashica cameras, laser printers and personal computers--has said it may relocate some of its other subsidiaries to the Tijuana complex as well.

The opening of the new plant will not prompt any layoffs among Kyocera's 1,300 employees in San Diego, Everitt said. The Tijuana facility is meant to expand, not replace, production performed in San Diego, he said.

Kyocera International, which operates a 280,000-square-foot plant on Balboa Avenue in San Diego, has maintained operations here since 1971, one of the early Japanese manufacturers to set up shop in the United States.

The company closed two plants in San Diego's Sorrento Valley area during the past year and shifted production to a Vancouver, Wash., operation, but all of the local workers were transferred to the Balboa Avenue facility.

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