Electronics-Supply Firm From Japan to Open Mexicali Plant

San Diego County Business Editor

Hirakawa Electric Wire, a Japanese company that supplies power supply cords, electric harnesses and other products to Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers, is building a manufacturing plant, or maquiladora, in Mexicali to be closer to its customers already located in the San Diego-Tijuana area.

Hirakawa thus becomes the first major Japanese company to locate a maquiladora in Mexicali, the Baja California Norte state capital situated about 125 miles east of San Diego. The city is now host to about 135 maquiladoras operated by foreign manufacturers, most of whom are American companies that have been attracted to Mexico by cheap labor.

The move by Hirakawa is part of the so-called “second wave” of relocations to Mexico by Japanese suppliers of larger manufacturers such as Sony, Sanyo, Hitachi, Matsushita and others already operating maquiladoras in Tijuana. The Mexicali plant is Hirakawa’s first in North America.


Closely Held Company

Ohnambu Sumitomo, another Japanese manufacturer similar to Hirakawa in that it also makes wiring products, set up a maquiladora in Tijuana in 1987.

Hirakawa will employ 200 to 300 workers at the plant, in the 50-acre Las Californias business park in Mexicali. Operations in the $2.5-million, 40,000-square-foot plant are scheduled to begin in June. The plant’s first products will be wiring for work station computers made by Sony at its Rancho Bernardo plant.