Germany's Rohde & Schwarz opens $58m regional HQ and R&D centre

SINGAPORE - German radio technology giant Rohde & Schwarz opened its regional headquarters and research and development (R&D) centre in Singapore on Monday.

At 1.3 ha, the new $58 million site at Changi Business Park is the firm's largest engineering and R&D facility outside Germany.

The R&D centre, managed by subsidiary Rohde & Schwarz Asia, will coordinate the company's global product development and manufacturing in defence and telecommunications.

The company's headquarters will oversee corporate affairs for its Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa operations.

Mr Manfred Fleischmann, president and chief executive of Rohde & Schwarz, said that the centre here is a "home away from home" for the firm.

"It is also a strong testimony of our commitment and confidence in Singapore as an attractive and strategic investment location," he added.

Eight in 10 of the over 350 employees housed in the seven-storey centre are Singaporeans or Singapore permanent residents, and Rohde & Schwarz hopes to increase its total head count by 35 staff per year for the next five years.

About 900 million euros (S$1.56 billion) worth of Rohde & Schwarz's business is controlled out of operations here today. The company spent about 300 million euros, or about 15 per cent of its annual turnover last year, on R&D.

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said at the opening ceremony on Monday that German Mittelstand - family-run businesses similar to local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - such as Rohde & Scwarz have been "quietly contributing" to Singapore's economic growth.

"They have chosen to invest in Singapore because of our access to emerging and high growth regions in Asia, our trusted business environment, our liveability as a green city in the heart of Asia, as well as our diverse and deep talent pool," he added.

Founded in 1933, Rohde and Schwarz first ventured into Singapore in 1997 with six employees at Tai Seng Drive. The company now has three factories in Loyang Industrial Park for systems engineering, manufacturing support and logistics, in addition to the new centre in Changi.