Is Western Digital a Chinese company?

Western Digital Corporation (Western Digital) is an American computer hard disk drive manufacturer and data storage company based in San Jose, California. Founded in 1970, Western Digital has been a major player in the computer storage industry for over 50 years.

Western Digital designs, manufactures, and provides data storage solutions including hard disk drives, solid state drives, and cloud storage services. Some of Western Digital’s most well-known brands include WD, SanDisk, G-Technology, and HGST.

With over $16 billion in revenue and over 60,000 employees worldwide, Western Digital is one of the largest companies in the data storage industry.


Western Digital was founded on April 23, 1970 in Irvine, California by Alvin B. Phillips, a Motorola employee, as “General Digital” (Western Digital Corporation, n.d.). The company initially sold calculator chips before shifting to manufacturing hard disk drives in 1988 (Zippia, n.d.). This marked the biggest change in Western Digital’s history, as the company soon became one of the major manufacturers of hard disk drives.

Some key milestones in Western Digital’s history include:
– 1970: Founded as General Digital by Alvin B. Phillips in California
– 1988: Shifted to manufacturing hard disk drives
– 1991: Produced the first 2.5-inch hard drives for laptops
– 2000: Acquired consumer electronics brand Creative Labs
– 2001: Became the first to produce a 120GB hard drive
– 2012: Acquired Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
– 2016: Acquired SanDisk in a deal worth $19 billion


Western Digital’s corporate headquarters is currently located at 5601 Great Oaks Parkway in San Jose, California, USA (Source 1). The company moved its headquarters from Irvine, California to San Jose in April 2017, taking over the headquarters of HGST which it had acquired in 2012 (Source 2). Prior to 2017, Western Digital’s headquarters was located in Irvine, California from 1970 to 2017.


Western Digital has major manufacturing facilities located in Thailand, Malaysia, China, and the Philippines. The company’s Thailand plants are located in Bang Pa-in and Navanakorn, and focus on producing hard disk drives (HDDs) ( Its Malaysia facilities, located in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor, manufacture a variety of storage devices including flash memory and SSDs. In China, Western Digital has manufacturing plants in Shanghai and Shenzhen producing HDDs, SSDs, and other components. Additionally, the company operates facilities in the Philippines located in Laguna Technopark focused on HDD production.


Western Digital’s leadership team is primarily American. The current CEO is David Goeckeler, who assumed the role in March 2020 (Western Digital). Goeckeler has focused on developing next-generation storage solutions since joining the company. Other key executives include Robert Eulau, Chief Financial Officer; Siva Sivaram, President of Technology and Strategy; and Michael Ray, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary (WSJ).

The Board of Directors includes Chairman Matthew Massengill and directors Martin Cole, Kimberly Alexy, Paula Price, Stephanie Streeter, and Thomas Caulfield (The Org). This leadership team has extensive experience in technology, business, and management.


Western Digital is primarily owned by large American institutional investors and funds. According to Western Digital’s investor relations page, the top holders as of December 31, 2021 were:

  • T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. (8.01%)
  • The Vanguard Group (7.96%)
  • BlackRock Fund Advisors (5.12%)
  • SSgA Funds Management, Inc. (4.53%)

Other major shareholders include American mutual fund companies like Fidelity Investments, Capital Research & Management Co., and Nomura Holdings Inc., according to CNN Money. The substantial ownership stake of large U.S. investment firms indicates that Western Digital is primarily owned by American interests.


Western Digital has many partnerships with technology companies and channel partners around the world. According to their website, Western Digital is a Red Hat Connect Technology Partner, collaborating to create innovative open-source solutions. Red Hat is an American multinational software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina (Source).

Western Digital also has a partnership with Seagate Technology, an American data storage company headquartered in Cupertino, California. In 2018, the two companies entered into a patent cross-licensing agreement to accelerate innovation (Source).

In Japan, Western Digital has a joint venture with Kioxia Corporation (formerly Toshiba Memory), called Flash Forward. This partnership combines Western Digital’s BiCS 3D NAND flash memory technology with Kioxia’s advanced 3D flash memory production capabilities (Source).

So while Western Digital has partnerships worldwide, many key relationships are with American and Japanese technology companies.


Western Digital’s main competitors are other large storage and data technology companies based in the United States. According to Gartner, top competitors and alternatives to Western Digital include Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Pure Storage, Dell Technologies, NetApp, Fujitsu, IBM, Hitachi Vantara, and Lenovo [1]. Another source,, lists Samsung Electronics, Intel, Seagate, Micron Technology, Netgear and Toshiba as major competitors [2].

Specifically, Seagate is considered one of Western Digital’s biggest competitors in the data storage market. Like Western Digital, Seagate is an American company headquartered in California that manufactures and sells hard disk drives, solid state drives, and storage solutions. Both companies have a significant global market share in the storage industry.


Chinese Companies

In contrast to major Chinese energy storage companies like Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited, Tianjin Lishen Battery, and EVE Energy, Western Digital is not a Chinese company. Some of the leading Chinese energy storage companies include CATL, BYD, EVE Energy, Lishen, and Sunwoda. However, Western Digital’s headquarters, manufacturing, leadership, ownership, and partnerships show no direct Chinese affiliation.


In summary, Western Digital is an American company that was founded in 1970 in California. Despite having manufacturing facilities in Asia, Western Digital has maintained its headquarters in San Jose, California for over 50 years. The company continues to be led by an American CEO and management team. While Western Digital partners with some Chinese companies, it remains an independent American corporation and continues to compete with other major storage companies across the globe. The evidence clearly shows that Western Digital identifies as an American company and has maintained that status since its founding.