Prompted by a growing customer base in the Western Cape, Panasonic South Africa has launched its new South African headquarters in Century City, in Cape Town.
“We are excited about our new headquarters. We decided to move to the Western Cape because of the growth in our customer base in this region and access to other large companies located in the Cape. We are also encouraged by its strong skills pipeline,” Panasonic South Africa MD Hidetoshi Kaneko said on Thursday.
He added that Panasonic South Africa was investigating whether it would be viable to move its entire African headquarters, which is currently based in Dubai, to South Africa. “Watch this space,” he stated.
He said Panasonic saw Cape Town as a strategic launch point into the Southern African Development Community region and the African continent.
He pointed out that Wesgro had helped to facilitate a swift transfer to move from Gauteng and put down roots in Cape Town.
The launch event, held at Panasonic South Africa’s ‘Life Experience Centre' at the new headquarters, on Thursday, attracted a range of people, including Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi, who was introduced as a new brand ambassador for the company.
The event was also attended by the managing executive officer of the Panasonic Corporation in Japan, Daizo Ito, as well as the head of its Africa region, Hiroyuki Shibutani.
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris welcomed the investment, as well as Panasonic South Africa's move to Cape Town.
“More than 40 staff will be based in these offices, with many relocating from Johannesburg. We are very excited about their plans for growth and expansion.”
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was also upbeat about the move.
“It is a great vote of confidence in our region to have such a major global player set up base in Cape Town. Since 2009, we have worked tirelessly to create a conducive environment for businesses to operate freely, create jobs and grow the economy,” Zille told the gathering.
She said the recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, entitled 'Cape Town – African City of Opportunity', ranked Cape Town as one of the world’s leading cities in which to do business. Cape Town ranks top in Africa, and sixth overall among middle-income country cities worldwide.
“The latest move by Panasonic will have a positive impact on our economy, and I am certain it will clear the way for other investors to do the same. We wish them well as they establish themselves in the Mother City,” Zille said.
In his role as new brand ambassador, Kolisi has helped to promote Panasonic’s new project “You can be the light” in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Panasonic is to donate the first batch of solar lanterns to the foundation, which will distribute them to people in need of lighting in off-grid areas.
“As 2018 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and the founding of Panasonic by Konosuke Matsushita, Panasonic aims to donate 10 000 lights over the next few years,” the company said.
Panasonic said it had chosen Kolisi to be its brand ambassador for the next three years as he was “strong and wonderful as a leader and as a family man”.
Kolisi said he was very pleased to be part of the initiative, as he could relate to it. He said he remembered reading by the light of a candle while growing up.
“This is about changing lives. It’s going to make a big difference, especially for children who need to read and do their homework.”
The new “Life Experience” centre at the headquarters will be open to the public and include Panasonic products which are available in other parts of the world, but have not yet been introduced into the South African market yet.