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Raspberry Pi now manufactured in the UK, thanks to Sony

by Alistair Lowe on 10 September 2012, 11:15

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE), Raspberry Pi Foundation

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We talk a lot about the Raspberry Pi and what it represents for the industry and, aside from being British in origin, we feel that this is one of the chief reasons so many of our readers have shown an interest in the little ARM board. Most recently, we reported that a new revision of the board had been completed, what we didn't cover was the fact that as of revision 2.0, this board will now be primarily manufactured within the UK.

Previously, the decision was made to outsource the Pi to China, where the correct price-point could be reached in unit volumes of tens of thousands. Following talks with Sony and, realising that the Pi is now looking at unit volumes in the hundreds of thousands, it was possible for the Foundation to bring manufacture back into the UK and, more specifically, the Sony manufacturing plant in Pencoed, South Wales.

Raspberry Pi Made in the UK

Sony has even gone to the lengths of agreeing to ensure components are all sourced ethically and ecologically, offloading the task previously undertaken by Farnell. The plant will produce 30,000 Raspberry Pis per month and this contract alone will generate 30 new jobs.

Let us hope that this is a sign that PCB manufacturers across the UK continue to become more and more competitive; it's a crying shame that so much business in this sector continues to be outsourced abroad, despite the presence of adequate facilities on home soil, though, this is certainly one sector that could benefit from government tax breaks, as global competition is fierce.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Not even a tax break, just a fair approach to manufacturing in this country versus importing pre-made items:-

http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509 [raspberrypi.org]
I wonder how they're doing on that now? I know a petition was set up to re-think the completely stupid tax rules.

For those who haven't read it, in short: To import components so the boards can be MFR'd in UK imposes tax, but to import assembled boards doesn't. Not sure how that encourages UK manufacturing exactly...
I wonder where this tax rule came from originally. I bet it was supposed to encourage the manufacture of parts in the UK and has either been completely misguided, or is now completely out of date (or a combination of the two). Depends when this rule was brought in and what it says specifically (is it about electronics or just about "components" as in it could have been for the car industry and discouraging the import of little bits of cars etc.).
My understanding is that as with all customs unions the tariff on goods from outside the union must be the same for every member country of the EU. Ie even if we weren't in the EU, if we were in the customs union (ie EFTA or relationship that Switzerland has), we still would be subject to the common external tariff. Its the price you pay for having absolutely zero trade restrictions inside the customs union.

Thus I believe the UK would not be able to change this rule unilaterally (although I agree the rule does sound completely bonkers as it seems to actively encourage complete assembly outside the EU rather than import components and assemble)
Here's a petition if you guys want to add your names:

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/27158 [submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk]