Thursday 24 January 2019 8:50 am

DEBATE: Following reports of the Dyson relocation, is Singapore the new go-to place for tech?

Following reports of the Dyson relocation, is Singapore the new go-to place for tech?

Elsa Hu, director of Asia at GP Bullhound, says YES.

Singapore has long been the headquarters of choice for Southeast Asian tech startups, due to its mature business ecosystem, proximity to two of the world’s booming economies, huge talent pool, and attitude of encouraging innovation. To top it off, in October the EU signed landmark agreements with Singapore for free trade and protected investment.

Now, it increasingly offers one of the most stable places for growing businesses to expand or relocate to.

In stark contrast, Brexit uncertainty and Donald Trump’s America First trade policy of debilitating tariffs are pushing tech companies like Dyson out of established hubs. Investors are putting their money behind Singapore, with over $86bn invested from Europe and North America in Asian tech in 2018.

For tech companies that use modern communication platforms and can ship products internationally, being selective about location in terms of trade policies and talent is the best option. Headquartering or expanding into Singapore makes perfect sense.

Leon Emirali, an entrepreneur and investor, says NO.

Britain’s tech scene is absolutely thriving. Yes, London attracted £2.5bn worth of venture capital funding in 2017, but look outside our capital and you will find mind-bogglingly exciting tech startups operating in the likes of Cambridge, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Up and down our isle, inspirational technology businesses have ensured that the sector is growing 2.6 times faster than the rest of the economy.

And there’s much more to look forward to. Britain is leading the way by incubating the technologies that will shape our future. Firms specialising in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the internet of things have all found welcome homes in the UK.

Regardless of Brexit, the unique DNA of this country will remain unchanged. A “never say die” attitude combined with an unwavering commitment to innovation will always give Britain an edge on competing tech destinations.

With China’s slowdown impacting the entire Asian market, Dyson’s decision to relocate to Singapore may prove costly in the long run.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.