500,000 Pis in Wales

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this website, production of the Raspberry Pi started in China back at the start of 2012, but has been gradually moving to Wales since last September. One of our distributors, Premier Farnell/Element14, already makes 100% of its Pis in the Welsh Sony factory in Pencoed, where Pis are built under licence. The other, RS Components, is in the process of moving the vast bulk of its manufacture to Wales as well (although they will continue to make a much reduced number of Pis in China for the Far East market).

Sony’s only been making Pis for us since September, but today they announced that the 500,000th Pi has just rolled off their lines. At the moment nearly 40,000 Pis are being made in Pencoed every week, and that number is set to climb further (I have some projections I’m not allowed to share, but they did make me swallow sharply when I read them) – even at these numbers we’re still having trouble meeting demand around the world. We sold our millionth Pi in January. Soon there will be more Made in the UK Pis in the world than their Made in China cousins.

This is wonderful news for us; and it’s great news for Welsh manufacturing. I wrote a short article about our decision to move to Wales for IT Wales last week; if you’re interested in why we made the move, it’s worth a read. I apologise for the awful portrait picture.

This group photograph is of all the people at the factory who have a hand in making your Pi – I had a go at counting them with my cursor, and I came out with a fairly astonishing 68 people. Thank you so much for all your hard work, everybody (and hi, Ricky!).

Gerald Kelly, the GM of Sony’s Pencoed plant, said:

In June we scheduled 204 units per week. By July that had climbed to 10,000 units per week – this month we will achieve 38,000 output per week, and this is just the beginning! The future is about higher volumes, a second generation Pi [Liz interjects: don’t get your hopes up, folks; Gerald’s talking about rev3 of the original Pi, which we’re preparing at the moment] and accessories such as a camera board. Current total forecast for Pi products indicate that 1,000,000 output will be achieved sometime in July this year.

We love working with the team in Pencoed; they’re always a real pleasure to visit, and the quality of the Pis they produce is superb. Congratulations all round – here’s to the next 500,000!


peter sibbing avatar

When can we see the RPi reversing this trend ?

PC Shipments Post the Steepest Decline Ever in a Single Quarter, According to IDC

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Congratulations on the 500k milestone. ;)

meltwater avatar

Pencoed the Pi capital of the world!

Didn’t see that one coming. Well done!

I shall be the 1st to ask…details of Rev3 please! (you only have yourself to blame!)

liz avatar

My lips are sealed, and my fingers are glued to a brick.

ukscone avatar

how many times have we told you not to use superglue to stick lego together? you only have yourself to blame

liz avatar


vasi avatar

Can you still answer yes or no questions?

liz avatar

No. ;)

colin allison avatar

See, you just did! ;-)

Ian (Williams) avatar

I Managed to hide at the back……!!

Great Achievement!

Ferrite avatar

Did the purchaser of the millionth Pi get a flashing banner ad to tell them? You could have offered them a load of free accessories to celebrate the milestone!

Gordon77 avatar

Well Done !!

Who buys all the Pis ? Is it mainly education or individuals ?


Tom avatar

The story of Raspberry Pi just keeps getting better. The next milestone I’d like to see is the millionth student who writes at least one program for the Pi.

Rumbust avatar

I have a dozen Pis :-o 5 of them Welsh.

Jim Manley avatar

Do the Welsh ones all have impossible-to-pronounce, 40-plus letter host names? :D

Jim Manley avatar

A million new software engineers! Amen and pass the admiration, Tom! :)

Henrik Hellman avatar

I hope this Sony manufacturing is well separated from their music industry branch, I don’t share their values on how to treat paying customers, EG: let’s hope we don’t get any preinstalled rootkits with the pis coming from Sony factories.

liz avatar

> let’s hope we don’t get any preinstalled rootkits with the pis coming from Sony factories.

They manufacture them under licence for us – which means we give them schematics and they build the boards to our specifications. If we asked them to install a rootkit, they would. Similarly, if we asked them to install a sandwich tray and a dear little dimple to hold your coffee cup, they would. But while we’re pretty firmly committed to not doing either of those things, Sony won’t be doing them for us.

Jongoleur avatar

Oh come on!

With RaspPi, you learn to install your own rootkit.

sudo apt-get install rootkit

Or something……. *evil grin*

vasi avatar

E: Unable to locate package rootkit.

Marc avatar


ricky avatar

Hi liz :D thanks for the mention.How is every one at the foundation. hope every one is well looking forward to youre next visit

liz avatar

So are we! Everyone’s well, and we’re about to celebrate that fact by going and having a hardware meeting in the pub. :) See you soon!

john avatar

I don’t see anything wrong with your picture, Liz. :-)

liz avatar

It’s a bit…smirky.

Tom West avatar

Wait, so that flashing banner ad was real??

HappyPiUser avatar

Congratulations all around!

I recently purchased my first Pi, a Model B, Rev. 2, that was “Made in the UK”

Very good build quality and it’s worked like a champ!.

Rob Beard avatar

Can we suggest features for Rev4? I’m thinking a teas maid, that would be great.

Congratulations on the 500,000th Pi by the way, my daughter who is 12 was telling me recently about an ICT lesson. Her ICT teacher asked if anyone had heard of Linux, she was the only one to put her hand up, he then asked if anyone had heard of the Raspberry Pi, again she was the only one to put her hand up. She’s not very geeky but she’s certainly interested in the Pi and had much fun a couple of months ago building a Ladder game. In September she’ll be starting ICT and I gather it’s going to be the new ICT curriculum (at least thats the impression I got speaking to one of her ICT teachers), I don’t know who is more excited, me or her… I just think it’s great that she’s going to be learning more than basic Word Processing, Spreadsheets etc :-)

Zoltan Arvai avatar

Congratulation :)

(Please, if it is possible change the smsc hub on rev3 to an other that has better support. Currently the smsc is a bottleneck for dvb streaming and usb related use cases. Please.. please… please :) )

imachrismoose avatar

Congratulations! I hope you all had a wonderful party to celebrate it!

Gert van Loo avatar

Of course! 1.000.000 PIs means 1.000.000 less PCs are required.
The other PC sales slump is because users are waiting for their PI to arrive.

Fernando avatar

So this means that my first Pi, a China-made Rev1 256MB Model B is now a collector’s item ;-)

liz avatar

Actually, I know you’re kidding, but it really is; we get mails from people who are desperate to buy those early models. Hold onto it!

exartemarte avatar

Any chance you might reconsider the dimple?

liz avatar

Dunno. It comes bundled with malware, a keylogger and a rootkit.

LinuxDude avatar

> Liz interjects: don’t get your hopes up, folks;

In my opinion it’s really time for a new major release of the Pi.

Although the build-in GPU is great, the ARM11 is very slow – so slow that it doesn’t make a lot of sence to actually use the Pi as a low-end desktop replacement (Office+WWW) as it was hyped. Currently ARM Cortex A15 CPUs are shipping, before them there was A9. Before A9 there was A8, and before A8 there was ARM11, which is used in the PI’s SOC. The first iPhone in 2007 had a CPU which is aprox. as powerful as the PI’s SOC for CPU demanding workloads.

liz avatar

Great! Thank you for the feedback! We will drop a completely different SOC in there next week and hope that the pinouts match; it’s *unbelievable* that we overlooked that idea.

RMW5 avatar

Great news !!!!
How do we order these Cortex A15 Pis? Any chance of a multithreaded quad-core version? Also 2GB RAM would be a nice extra. For $25 of course.

Ramu avatar

Hey, are you serious?

RMW5 avatar

No ;-)

George Witherspoon avatar

The main feature I’d like to see in a new model is having all of the connectors on one side of the board.

liz avatar

Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen; you’d end up with something with the footprint of a ruler! Pete has a stock response for people who ask why the Pi has ports on all sides. He asks them why they think Britain has ports on all *its* sides.

(If you’re interested in the complexity of this problem, I’m recommend a look at the board’s schematics. They’re publicly available at http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3625.)

Neil avatar

It is not so much the million’th Pi, it is the 3,141,593th (rounded) Pi that will be a landmark to celebrate.

LinuxDude avatar

How cool, glad to know the Raspberry will finally get something more useable than that slow ARM11 based SOC.

> In my opinion it’s really time for a new major release of the Pi.

Major != Minor (small update). Sure you won’t find something pin-compatible, but given the success of the first-gen Raspberry, Boardcom should show at least mild interest in releasing an updated SoC in not-to-distant future to keep things interesting for users. (and if you’ve tried to actually use a Pi as desktop replacement, you know what I am talking about).

JamesH avatar

??? The rev3 board will be pretty much the same as the rev 2 – just some minor fixes and stuff to make it easier to make. Same SoC. No other changes on the horizon.

And just as an aside, it takes about a year to get a new chip from idea to manufacture, if you have the staff available.

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