TOKYO -- Fujitsu General will strengthen an air conditioner development site in Thailand to extend its reach with corporate customers in growth markets.
The Japanese company plans to add a building around next summer to a site in Chonburi, a province near Bangkok. Investment will come to between 2 billion yen and 3 billion yen ($16.6 million to $24.9 million).
The development site is close to Fujitsu General's mainstay air conditioner production facility, enabling frequent communication for feedback, and develops large commercial models for such overseas markets as the Middle East. The new building will develop commercial air conditioners for the Mideast, Australia, Europe and the U.S.
The staff will double from the current 80 or so. Engineers will be hired mainly locally.
With the Japanese market maturing, the company is sharpening its focus on overseas markets.
Foreign markets accounted for 77% of Fujitsu General's sales in the air conditioner business last fiscal year. The company enjoys broad brand recognition in the Mideast, which it entered in the 1970s. Middle Eastern and African sales jumped more than 60% last fiscal year.
Fujitsu General continues to fare well abroad, with sales in the Mideast and the Americas seen rising 20% or so this fiscal year. By expanding research and development operations in Thailand, it seeks to boost sales to not only consumers, but also corporate customers.
Marketing efforts will be stepped up in the Middle East, Australia and the Americas, where demand is especially strong. Fujitsu General aims to boost air conditioner sales by around 80% from last fiscal year to 300 billion yen in fiscal 2019.