Nikon 1: Japanese Moves To China

September 5, 2012

Nikon has always been one of the largest companies in the consumer electronics industry. Nikon and its competitors — Canon, Sony and Olympus — are all based out of Tokyo. For 95 years, the back of your camera would always say “Made in Japan.”



Now, Nikon has made an incredible investment by building a near-identical factory in Wuxi, China, solely for their new mirrorless camera, the Nikon 1. Wuxi is located 80 miles west of Shanghai, and is known as the major industrial park in China, as it is located on the Grand Canal, and has its own freight airport (which is only minutes from the Nikon 1 factory). There are few transportation barriers, labor is cheap, space is inexpensive – all of which were large factors in Nikon’s decision to move a portion of its business to China. The Nikon 1 factory was built with similar layouts, working hours, equipment, and assembly processes as the factories in Tokyo. It’s just that this factory manufactures the Nikon 1, and only the Nikon 1. You would think that a factory that only produces one item would be small, right? Wrong. The Nikon 1 factory covers over 93,000 square meters and employs nearly 10,000 workers.


A view from inside one of the manufacturing lines inside the Nikon 1 factory.


As I’m sitting here at my desk, my brain became way too imaginative – “I wonder how many airplanes could fit inside of this factory…”

Well, let’s do the math…or better yet, let’s use pictures!


Google image of the Nikon 1 factory.

With the glory of computers, I was able to use Google’s satellite imagery and Photoshop to size up my calculations.


Google image of Boeing 747 jets in comparison to the Nikon 1 factory.


To my amazement, the Nikon 1 factory is large enough to safely house 101 Boeing 747 jets. It would also fit….


Google image of the White House in comparison to the Nikon 1 factory.


…120 White Houses…


Google image of Target Field in comparison to the Nikon 1 factory.


…6 Target Fields…


Google image of Fast Horse World HQ in comparison to the Nikon 1 factory.


…and 746 Fast Horse World Headquarters.


The Nikon 1 factory is quite remarkable in size. My next thought leads my curiosity into wondering how long it would take me to run across the entire plant in those static and dust-proof booties all the workers are required to wear.