Toshiba to focus on infrastructure

DUBAI - Technology and industrial giant Toshiba plans to strengthen its focus on infrastructure business in the Middle East where huge investments in power and nuclear projects are under way, a senior official of the Japanese conglomerate said.

By (Issac John)

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Published: Fri 29 Oct 2010, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:46 AM

Toshiba, which has emerged as a leader in nuclear plant technology following the $5.4 billion acquisition of Westinghouse in 2006, will be vying for N-plant projects in the region, said Yasuyoshi Matsunaga, Toshiba’s Corporate Representative in the Middle East Africa region and Managing Director of Toshiba Gulf FZE.

“We have already made our presence in several power projects, and would be looking at eco projects and energy-saving and water desalination projects in the UAE and other Gulf countries,” Matsunaga told Khaleej Times.

As a global player, Toshiba’s mid-to long-term strategic vision is to focus on growth business areas, expand the scope of key businesses, accelerate the development of new business areas, and evolve into a leading eco-company, he said.

Having started business in the Middle East and Africa in 1963, dealing in both heavy electrical apparatus and consumer products, Toshiba has been involved in many power-supply related projects in the Gulf, Matsunaga said.

Toshiba Gulf FZE was set up in 1997 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation to reinforce the company’s commitment to regional business and to prepare for future expansion.

The Jebel Ali-based entity’s strategy is to localise its operations within the region by opening more regional offices to ensure stronger growth and focus in underdeveloped markets in the region.

He said in the aftermath of the global recession, while the developed economies appear to be on the road to gradual recovery, the higher growth in the emerging economies is playing the role of an engine for growth of the world economy. “In the emerging economies, the strength of the consumer market is fast growing, and urgent demands for improvements in such vital societal needs as energy, water and food are coming to the forefront. Toshiba wants to be a key player in those markets,” said Matsunaga.

“In Africa, South Korean companies are making a strong presence but in the Middle East we are strong. So in the coming months, we will be opening at least three regional offices in Africa to cater to cater to north, south and east regions of the continent.”

Also in the pipeline is the launch of special product line for Africa and other emerging markets, he said.

Matsunaga said Toshiba Gulf, which is witnessing a strong rebound in all segments of its business, including PCs, televisions and copiers, is on target to record 20 per cent growth in 2010.

Matsunaga, who joined Toshiba in 1975, and worked in varying capacities in the US until he took over the reign of Toshiba Gulf in 2003, said his company has been guided a set of values that lie at the heart of its identity, ‘Committed to People, Committed to the Future’ since its origin as an electrical machinery manufacturer in 1875.

Now for more than a century and a quarter, Toshiba has been making its mark in power plants and bullet trains to mobile phones and sub-micron technologies, he said.

“We are known around the world for our cutting edge televisions, portable PCs, DVD players and drives, and supporting electronic devices. With technologies pouring in from more than 30 separate R&D laboratories and over 300 subsidiary companies around the world, we maintain a technology leadership that has resulted in many world firsts,” he said.

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