PENANG, Malaysia – Years after resisting pressure to move to China, Lee Hung Lung says his bet has paid off. Sales at his Malaysia-based Hotayi Electronic are surging, it’s hiring more workers, considering an expansion, and picking and choosing orders.
Lee is the founder and CEO of Hotayi, whose two factories manufacture and assemble circuit boards and other electronics products. The plants are located in the coastal state of Penang, once called the “Silicon Valley of the East” for its massive 47-year-old electrical and electronics (E&E) industry before it lost its shine to China.
Then came the trade war between the world’s biggest two economies, pushing mostly U.S. companies to look for factories outside China to escape retaliatory tariffs, and leading to Penang’s resurgence after what a fund manager described as “a decade of sleepiness”.
Penang is just one of the areas across Asia competing for supply chains seeking a new location and lower tariffs.