Altium relocates from Sydney to Shanghai

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IN A blow to the electronics industry in Australia, Altium is relocating its global headquarters and core R&D facilities from Sydney to Shanghai, China.

The relocation will affect Altium’s core software development activities, corporate office and executive management team, and refocus its marketing toward the Chinese market.

According to the press release from Altium, this move is due to its belief that China represents the best location and opportunity for the execution of its plan for developing cloud-based electronics design tools, methodologies and systems.

While the company had a market leading position in Australia, it only derived a small percentage of its global sales from the region.

Altium will draw on the talent pool in China to expand its R&D team, but will retain its Australian and New Zealand regional sales and support function in Sydney, along with a small software development team.

Altium has been a major participant in the electronics industry in Australia, playing a part in encouraging continued excellence within the community. It has also been a consistent sponsor of the Electronics News Future Awards, and its presence will be sorely missed.

Update: In the latest episode of The Amp Hour internet radio show, EEVblog‘s David L. Jones revealed he had been working at Altium in the hardware department designing FPGA boards, but was retrenched along with the majority of staff in Sydney due to the move to Shanghai.

"They are moving, lock stock and barrel, to China, and as a result, a whole bunch of people were made redundant or laid off…I don’t know the exact numbers, but it’s a lot," Jones said on the show. "The idea is to move all their R&D to China, and pretty much start again."

On the show, Jones discussed the fact that Altium has long been known as an Australian company taking on the world, and admitted he (along with everyone else) was surprised by this move.

"If this was in planning for the last year, nobody knew about it," he said.

There were also speculations that the move was a money-saving tactic.

"The company is not doing great at the moment, financially, so I can understand if they are moving to China to lower their labour costs," Jones said.

In his comment to Electronics News‘ story (see below), Rob Irwin, product marketing manager at Altium, said, "Altium’s commitment to the industry here in Australia will remain as strong as it always has been."

"Altium will remain an Australian company, albeit with its senior management and R&D functions relocated to Shanghai."