Japanese firms doing more tasks at regional headquarters in Singapore: JETRO poll

17, Mar. 2020

Photo by Tri Nguyen on Unsplash
Photo by Tri Nguyen on Unsplash

SINGAPORE, NNA – Japanese firms are doing more at their regional headquarters in Singapore as they seek expansion in Southeast Asia by localizing business to penetrate local markets.

The number of Japanese firms that had established regional headquarters in Singapore, a Southeast Asian financial center, jumped 20 percent to 108 companies compared to 90 in 2015, according to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

A majority of major Japanese firms in Singapore cite good access to surrounding countries, political stability and convenience in business information gathering as reasons to locate regional headquarters in the city-state.

About 61 percent of 226 Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry member companies, or 108 firms, say their Singapore regional headquarters now do corporate planning, up from 54.4 percent in 2015, according to a member survey conducted from late 2019 through February.

The every-four-year survey unveiled by JETRO on Monday showed that 54.6 percent of the 108 firms oversee “compliance and internal controls” from Singapore, up from 38.9 percent in 2015, and that 50.9 percent control “human resources management” at their Singapore offices, up from 46.7 percent from four years ago.

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All companies with regional headquarters in Singapore use the base to oversee business around Southeast Asia. More than 60 percent of them look after South and West Asia, as well, and 40 percent takes in Oceania, the poll showed.

Regional offices in the city-state are start doing more work in compliance and internal control as world headquarters in Japan has strengthened such practices at home, JETRO Singapore Deputy Managing Director Hideki Fujie told NNA.

Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said they benefit “more than they expected” or “as they expected”, especially in logistics, accounting, financing and sales, the survey showed.

Of the 108 firms, 43.5 percent said they will add operations to their Singapore regional offices, according to the poll.