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Philips’ ASTRO decoders now 100% Malaysian-made

Malaysia’s reputation as one of the world’s leading electronics and high technology components manufacturers has been given a further boost with the sealing of an agreement that will see Philips’ ASTRO decoders being manufactured completely in the country.
This development was made possible thanks to the transfer of technology from Philips, in partnership with ASTRO, to Sanmina-SCI Systems (M) Sdn Bhd (SSCI), one of the world’s premier electronics contract manufacturers.
As a result of this technology transfer, SSCI is now manufacturing an enhanced version of the Philips decoders at its plant in Bukit Tengah Industrial Park, Prai, Penang. The enhanced model sees a feature change in the form of a silver-coloured box, which is not only more compact in size but uses Philips’ advanced chip technology.
At the official signing ceremony between Philips and SSCI - which was witnessed by YAB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Chief Minister of Penang - Mr. Rajah Kumar, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Malaysia, said: “Building further on the excellent and well-established relationship between ASTRO and Philips that dates back to 1996, the decision to transfer technology to Malaysia was to enable both companies to tap the growth potential in the region in a more cost-efficient manner.
“Given ASTRO’s long-term plans to expand its services to other South East Asian markets, it is only natural that the enhanced Philips decoders for ASTRO users are manufactured fully right here in Malaysia, as opposed to just assembling the decoders which was what we were doing previously.”
The transfer of technology agreement involving manufacturing technology as well as quality and test tools systems will see SSCI becoming the sole Philips decoder manufacturer in the region. SSCI has the capacity to manufacture 500,000 Philips decoders annually with a view to meeting ASTRO’s expansion plans.
Mr. Kumar also said that Philips has invested more than RM2 million to transfer the technology to SSCI, while engineers from Philips Europe were flown in to provide support and assistance in setting up the production process in Penang.
“Philips is pleased to note that the transfer of technology will also boost employment opportunities, as the production process will involve one hundred percent local employees, and will benefit local logistics, metal, plastic and packaging materials industries by an estimated annual value of RM4 million,” Kumar continued.
Mr. Y.Y. Lim, Vice President and General Manager, EMS Division, SSCI, said: “We are indeed appreciative of the confidence Philips and ASTRO has placed in SSCI in this highly significant Malaysian undertaking.
“As a leading-edge US-based supplier of integrated design, fabrication and manufacturing technology with flexible, world-class manufacturing facilities in more than 20 countries on five continents and an existing global partnership with the Philips Group, SSCI is well positioned to facilitate Philips production of its decoders for ASTRO. After all, meeting and exceeding our customers’ need in terms of quality and reliability has always been a hallmark of SSCI.”
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