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HP beefs up Singapore investments

Hewlett-Packard plans to invest $1 billion to add new equipment and manpower to its existing production facilities in the region.

Hewlett-Packard plans to invest $1 billion to bolster its manufacturing operations in Singapore.

The investment, to be spread over the next five years, will cover the costs of adding new equipment and manpower to the company's existing production facilities in Singapore. In addition, the computer maker will continue to equip its Singaporean plants with capabilities to produce some of its most complex, high-end products.

As testament to this trend, HP said it will now make Singapore the production base for its top-of-the-line Superdome enterprise servers in the Asia-Pacific. Asian orders for Superdomes were previously fulfilled out of a factory in the United States.

"No two Superdomes are alike," said Paul Chan, HP's managing director for the Asia-Pacific. "They are highly customized and configured to individual customers' needs."

By making Singapore the Superdome manufacturing site for Asia, Chan expects to gain "significant cost savings" and shorten delivery times for these made-to-order multiprocessor systems. These servers, which are capable of running multiple operating systems, are mostly used by large corporations to run their databases and business applications.

To date, HP has more than 500 Superdome customers in the region, the company said. These include Korea's SK Telecom, Singapore Airlines, China Telecom and Australian mobile operator Optus.

Chan hinted the company is set to unveil a new manufacturing center in Singapore for another product line this September, but declined to provide further details.

Singapore currently serves as HP's headquarters for that region and has been a key focus of the company's investments in recent years.

Last July, the company announced a $31 million investment to set up a research center in Singapore to develop and test products for its ProCurve range of networking hardware.

Zen Lee and Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.