Whirlpool Corp. has moved its South-east Asian headquarters to Thailand from Singapore in an effort toward more sales from its biggest market in the region. The company expects that the move will help it boost sales in Thailand by 30 percent to one billion baht (U.S. $41 million) this year. With the move, its Singapore office has been reduced to a staff of three who oversee the domestic distribution of its products.
Mr Y.G. Ang, who runs Hometech, a Whirlpool servicing agent, said the company had about 10 to 20 employees in Singapore before the relocation. He added that it used to have about 100 to 200 employees back in the 1990s, when the company ran research and development (R&D) operations in Singapore. "But many of them were either retrenched or transferred when the company moved its R&D operations to China around 1996 and 1997," he said.
The shift to Thailand will allow Whirlpool to enjoy tax breaks given by the Thai government to companies setting up regional headquarters in the country. In 2001, the Thai government slashed by two-thirds to 10 percent the tax on income from service operations of companies that move their head offices to the country. (The Straits Times)
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