Electronics giant Panasonic on Thursday said it will stop making lithium-ion batteries and will shut down the factory that produces the batteries in Beijing. The company will cut 1,300 jobs as it aims to produce higher-grossing items such as electric car batteries.
The plant has been open for 15 years and produces batteries for simple mobile phones and digital cameras. Both of those devices have been swept under the rug in most parts of the world because of the emergence of smartphones.
According to Nikkei business daily, the plant’s biggest customer for years was Nokia, which sold to Microsoft in 2014.
Panasonic acquired the plant in 2010 when it acquired Sanyo Electric, a leading maker of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels. After South Korean companies began to eat into market share, Panasonic started selling off the less profitable sectors of the Sanya Electric business.
Panasonic has recently shifted to focus o electric car batteries and energy-saving home systems rather than consumer electronics such as plasma TVs and smartphones.
According to Business Insider, the electronics giant plans to invest 60 billion yen ($499.83 million) in the fiscal year through March in its automotive business. The company plans to pay for 30 to 40 percent of Tesla’s $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada.