Knowles sets up Lapu plant

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Friday, November 9, 2012

A MANUFACTURING giant broke ground for its first facility in Cebu yesterday, making way for a 20,000-square-meter plant expected to employ some 4,000 employees by 2014.

Knowles Electronics, manufacturer of microphones, speakers, receivers and other components for hearing aids, held its ground-breaking ceremony in the Cebu Light Industrial Park Inc. (CLIP) yesterday morning. It will occupy 5.7 hectares while the plant will have two storeys that can accommodate 4,000 workers. They made an initial investment of P630 million.

Dan Giesecke, vice president for operations of Dover Communication Technology, mother company of Knowles, said they chose Cebu for its stable workforce, English-speaking ability and talent pool.


He also noted the government support and Cebu’s location, saying their area in CLIP is close to air and sea ports, making it easier for their shipping requirements. Giesecke also found favorable Cebu’s stable social and political environment.

Other choices

He admitted that they evaluated other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam and other areas in the Philippines, including Manila, before they finally selected Cebu.

Giesecke believes growth can be expected in their Philippine facility, citing the huge demand for mobile handsets and devices.

He declined to mention who their clients are, but assured that they supply microphones, receivers and speakers for handsets, mobile phones and tablets to nearly all the major brands.

“Those brands you are aware of, we’re building for them,” said Joseph Emmanuel Liwag, Knowles Philippines managing director.

4,000 jobs in 2014

Liwag said they currently have 37 employees and are operating at a temporary site.

They hope to end the year with 110 employees and begin training them this month. They want to reach 1,500 employees by the end of 2013 and over 4,000 by the end of 2014.

The facility is expected to be completed by late September next year.

For their workers, Giesecke said they require a strong and educated workforce with operators who can speak English, technical and engineering staff to support production lines, and office staff for the other operations.

Aside from microphones, receivers and speakers, Knowles is also a provider of MEMS surface mount microphones to major cell phone brands and consumer electronic devices the world over.

They have over 7,800 employees from 17 subsidiary companies in 11 countries including the USA, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, China, Japan and other countries across Asia.

It was a Knowles microphone that transmitted the first words of Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon in 1969.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 10, 2012.


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