Dyson to boost Singapore R&D team in line with head office move

Charlie Park, Dyson's global category director for environmental care, unveils a new product in Beijing on Jan. 9, 2020.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Household appliance giant Dyson is broadening the technology role of its Singapore research and development team as part of the plan to shift its UK headquarters to the Asian island nation.

Dyson has started recruiting for "early stage research projects specifically in Singapore," Charlie Park, Dyson's global category director for environmental care, said in an interview on Thursday.

Originally run as a subsidiary of the UK parent, the Singapore operation had been "purely supporting late stage development", with all of the early stage research done in the UK, Park said.

However, the maker of vacuum cleaners and air dryers is now planning to upgrade the Singapore team in line with the level of research it has been doing in the UK, he added.

For now, the UK still provides Dyson's strongest R&D muscle, accommodating half of the company's 6,000 engineers globally.

Singapore currently has 1,100 but Park said there will be "a significant amount of growth" in line with the separate decision a year ago to move global headquarters from Wiltshire, England to Singapore to be closer to its fastest-growing markets and production base.

Dyson chief executive Jim Rowan said in 2019 that the company's growth rate in Asia had been double most other markets in the world in recent years and that more than half of its profit came from the region.

Park said some senior executives are already based in Singapore, including its CEO and the Chief Financial Officer, and that the company will move into its new headquarters building, the historical St. James Power Station, in early 2021.

Currently Dyson develops personal care and hair care products in Singapore and floor and environmental care products in Malaysia, according to Park. He added that Singapore would have "a number of skill sets", without elaborating.

Last year the company scrapped an ambitious US$2.5 billion project to build electric cars in Singapore after founder and billionaire inventor James Dyson admitted in a letter to employees that he saw no way to make a car "commercially viable".

He said the company would redirect the funds to develop other products, including battery technology.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post