Cochlear defends plan for Chinese manufacturing plant

manufacturing

Hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear is spending $50 million on a new manufacturing facility in China. The manufacturer has been criticised for this plan, having previously only manufactured implants in Australia (although it has plants for other products overseas).

Cochlear’s new plant will be built in the Chinese city of Chengdu, producing implants for China and other emerging markets. The company hopes the plant will be up and running within four years, and increase the production of its cochlear implants by 50 per cent.

According to Cochlear chief operating officer Dig Howitt, the plan was influenced by the fact that the company is expected to reach capacity in its local facilities in the next few years. At the same time, China has become one of Cochlear’s top five markets, and one of its fastest-growing markets.

“This investment should allow us to further extend our market position and deepen our commitment to China,” said Cochlear chief executive Chris Smith.

Howitt assured that Cochlear is committed to manufacturing in Australia, and he declined to reveal the cost savings associated with the shift.

Cochlear is based on the Macquarie University campus in Sydney, where it has a manufacturing facility, along with others in Lane Cove and Brisbane.