Western Digital to Close Major Hard Drive Factory

Due to declining demand for traditional mechanical hard disk drives, Western Digital have announced the closure of its Petaling Jaya factory in Malaysia.

The hard drive giant currently only has three mechanical hard drive factories – and one of them is closing. The 1 million square foot factory located in Petaling Jaya near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpa is the second largest of the three Western Digital factories, with the other two in Thailand. WD have cited the decline in sales of traditional hard disk drives, with consumers instead opting for flash-based solid state drives. WD commented to The Register: "The data technology industry is undergoing substantial change. This market transformation is driving increased adoption of SSDs and NAND flash in traditional HDD applications. The change has contributed to growth in SSD/NAND flash and declining long-term demand for client HDDs.

While solid state drives still outprice traditional HDDs, in the past year or two the price of flash storage has fallen considerably. While still offering users a cheaper cost per gigabyte, HDDs have fallen out of favour with many due to their bulky size, slow speed and noise. SSDs are beginning to become the go-to storage medium for most home users, and many businesses, who particularly benefit in the long-term from the reduced power consumption.

This is by no means the first hard drive factory that Western Digital have closed in recent years; after acquiring HGST, they closed a factory in Singapore last year. Citing similar reasons, Seagate also cut 320 jobs at its Hampshire development centre in 2017, as well as 70 staff in Northern Ireland, pledging a 14% cut worldwide.

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