SINGAPORE - Home-grown gaming chair firm Secretlab is set to create about 100 more job roles, mostly in product development.
The ergonomic chair retailer currently employs more than 200 employees, about 90 per cent of whom are Singaporeans. It makes about one million chairs a year that are sold to about 60 countries.
Co-founder and chief strategy officer Alaric Choo said the seven-year-old company is looking especially to hire more engineers and designers.
Mr Choo was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a visit on Tuesday (Aug 31) by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong to the company's new global headquarters and research and development lab in Braddell.
The lab, which is usually open only to product development staff, allows for the testing of the durability of materials, for instance in humidity chambers and pressure mapping stations.
Mr Ian Ang, co-founder and chief executive of Secretlab, said the company has invested $10 million in setting up the headquarters and research and development centre.
"We'll continue to invest $50 million over the next few years into research and development to further boost our product development and innovation capabilities."
He noted that with the company's current scale, even a defect rate of 0.1 per cent would affect a thousand users.
"This is why we are investing this much... The impact of this investment is further amplified by our economies of scale, which enables us to access new technologies that we'll continue to use to continually further innovate our products," said Mr Ang.
Mr Gan told reporters that the Covid-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for Singapore companies to expand and look at overseas markets.
"Some would look at it as a crisis, and some will look at it as an opportunity. There's a window there for us to take this opportunity to move our products overseas because other companies and markets are also facing challenges."
He noted that the Government's approach to helping local companies focuses on individual enterprises and is not "scheme-centric".
"We have a lot of schemes for companies who want to grow and expand… But the key is that we are quite prepared to work with companies individually, to tailor our support scheme to the needs of the company, recognising that each company's needs and requirements are very different.
"And we don't have a one-size-fits-all programme that people just sign on for."
Mr Gan also highlighted the importance of innovation as a key strategy for companies to remain relevant, grow and eventually go global.
He noted how Secretlab went from producing gaming chairs to desks as well.
"This shows that the company is very progressive. They continue to innovate, look for new products and new markets."
Mr Choo said that professional gamers serve as a "litmus test" for the chairs, but the company's target audience has expanded to include other working professionals.
"If it works for (the gamers), then the office worker is going to be able to use it as well, because their needs are much less than the competitive gamer."
Mr Ian Ang, co-founder and chief executive of Secretlab, said the company is still learning and navigating challenges.
"(But) in years to come, when the business is more stable, we would love to help future entrepreneurs to go overseas as well."