TOKYO -- Furukawa Electric will open a fiber-optic cable factory in Morocco, seeking to tap growing demand for communications infrastructure in Africa.
The Japanese company plans to invest about 1 billion yen ($8 million) to set up a factory in Tangier, a northern port city facing the Strait of Gibraltar. The facility will assemble optic fibers made at U.S. and Japanese plants into final products.
With the factory's opening, Furukawa, the world's No. 3 fiber-optic manufacturer, will be the first major company in the field to produce the cables in Africa.
Furukawa will initially supply the cables to telecom companies in Africa and Europe while aiming at producing connectors and other related parts in the future.
The company opened a factory in Colombia in 2014 and has been boosting output in Russia and India. By investing in countries with growth potential, Furukawa aims to raise its output capacity for optical fiber by 30% by the end of 2018.
Furukawa controls about 10% of the global fiber-optic market, trailing Corning of the U.S. and Prysmian of Italy.
Demand for fiber-optic cables in Africa and the Middle East is likely to grow to 32 million kilometers in 2018, up about 80% from 18 million kilometers in 2014.
Morocco, with free trade agreements with more than 50 countries, has drawn attention as an export hub with easy access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The country's security level, considered relatively better than that of surrounding areas, has also been an appeal.