Penang Gets New Factory in Gloomy Economy

The economy looks and feels so bad that more and more companies are winding up and laying off workers.

But still, Penang, a state largely hit by the imminent recession, delivers a surprise when announcing a set up of a new factory, coming all the way from the United States.

The company, St Jude Medical Inc, have agreed to invest $30 million in setting up its Asia Pacific regional plant in Penang.

The facilities will be comprised of administrative area, and a major manufacturing plant, most likely to be producing pacemakers. Construction will begin this year and full operation is expected to be in 2011. The company will employ about 300 workers in its initial operation but the number may grow to exceed 1,000 as the company grows steadily.

It was learnt that St Jude Medical have sent its first batch of representatives to negotiate for possible investment initiatives with Penang state government in 2007, while the state was helmed by the former chief minister, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. It then turned to China for a possible new location which never materialized and came back for rounds of discussion in mid of 2008.

St Jude Medical is a $3 billion multinational manufacturer of medical products such as cardiac therapy devices, pacemakers and heart valves, focusing its specialties on cardiac management, cardiology, atrial fibrillation, cardiac surgery and neuromodulation. The company has its global headquarter based in Minnesota, US.

Some joy for Penangites.

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