Zoom announced Tuesday that it would expand its presence in Singapore by opening a new research and development centre. 

In a press release, the video conferencing giant mentioned that they planned to hire hundreds of new engineering staff, and also stated that they would double their data centre capacity in the country.

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Why it matters: Zoom experienced massive growth in its video conferencing service this year, as millions of workers and students worldwide began using its video platform to work and study from home as a result of COVID-19 lockdown orders. 

•  Velchamy Sankarlingam, president of product and engineering for Zoom, asserted that Singapore’s business-friendly reputation, strong infrastructure, and widespread availability of talent were the main reasons for Zoom’s expansion.

•  “We plan to immediately hire employees, leveraging Singapore’s highly-educated engineering talent pool. Our new R&D centre and data centre will play a critical role in Zoom’s continued international growth,” said Sankarlingam.

•  Zoom has previously said its hiring plans for Singapore would include engineers and sales staff, according to Nikkei

•  The planned Singaporean R&D centre will supplement Zoom’s existing R&D centres in China, India, and the US. 

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More details: A Zoom spokesman said that the firm aimed to open the new R&D centre by the third quarter of 2021, or “when it’s safe for all our employees to go back into the office,” according to The Straits Times

•  He declined to say how much Zoom was planning to invest in the new R&D or data centre. 

•  Last month, Singapore announced a new work visa program aimed at attracting highly talented technology entrepreneurs, experts, and business leaders to the low-tax global business hub. The program will begin in January 2021.  

•  Zoom has already been operating in Singapore for the past two years. 

•  “Zoom has changed the realm of what we thought was possible. We can work from anywhere rather than a fixed location. We can brainstorm, learn or even have dinner and drinks together remotely,” said Kai Fong Chng, Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

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Looking ahead: In recent years, Singapore has been ramping up its efforts to attract tech firms and investors to establish or expand technology centres in the Southeast Asian country, using lucrative offers of grants and incentives as sweeteners. 

•  It has previously targeted household technology names such as Facebook, Google, Tencent, and Alibaba.

•  Several other tech giants have expanded or set up their first office in Singapore in 2020, including Twitter, WeChat owner, Tencent Holdings, and Chinese tech giant, ByteDance – owner of the short video making phenomenon, TikTok.