TOKYO, June 16 Hoya Corp , the world's
second largest maker of optical glass used in cameras, said on
Thursday it would open its first furnaces overseas by the end of
the year, diversifying production away from Japan, where power
The firm, which competes with market leader Ohara Inc
, will open a plant in Weihai in China, hoping to take
advantage of burgeoning demand for cameras in China, and easier
access to raw materials including rare earth lanthanum, a
company spokeswoman said.
The plant is set to begin operations in December. Hoya said
the cost of the factory is yet to be determined.
Hoya, a supplier to Canon , the world's largest
maker of digital cameras, was forced to curtail production in
March because of power cuts after the quake and tsunami knocked
out nuclear and other power plants.
"We need to diversify production, because we currently only
manufacture in one place," said the spokeswoman. Optical glass
makers are particularly sensitive to power cuts, which force
them to switch off furnaces, disrupting production for an
Some Japanese companies have tried to offset the effects of
power shortages in the capital and northern Japan by increasing
production in the west.
But this month western Japan's Kansai Electric
joined Tokyo Electric Power in calling on its customers
to cut consumption during the hot summer months.
Analysts say Chinese firms such as CDGM Glass Company Ltd
and Hubei New Huaguang are expanding production of lower-grade
optical glass. But they say makers of high end interchangeable
lens cameras like Canon and Nikon will likely continue
to source from Japanese makers to avoid compromising quality.
Hoya is confident it can maintain quality standards at its
Chinese plant, the spokeswoman said.
(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)