Western Digital will close a hard disk drive factory in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The closure comes in response to the declining demand for consumers HDDs. The factory, that is located close to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, should cease operation by the end of 2019. However, by that time a second SSD factory in Penang, Malaysia should have become operational.
A Western Digital spokesperson has confirmed the closure of the factory, that employs 13,000, to The Register, “this transition will be executed in close collaboration with employees, customers, supply partners and other critical stakeholders.”
Impacted factory workers will receive severance compensation and Western Digital will provide upskilling support. Part of the employees can also continue to work in Western Digital’s Center of Excellence in the city of Selangor, where the company will have engineering, planning and support functions.
Western Digital manufactured HDDs in the Petaling Jaya facility since 1994. The factory was built in 1973 and between then and 1994, the factory was used to produce semiconductors. Currently, Western Digital only has 2 HDD factories left, which are located in Thailand.
The decline of the demand of HDDs fueled the decision to close the Petaling Jaya factory. It’s also the reason why Western Digital will shift focus from HDDs to the growing SSD market. In 2016, Western Digital acquired Sandisk for $19 billion and immediately became a big player in the NAND flash memory market.