Zoom to arrange R&D centre and rent lots of of engineers in Singapore

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Zoom Video Communications logo is pictured at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York

By Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:) Inc said on Wednesday it would expand its presence in Singapore by opening a research and development centre and will immediately hire hundreds of engineering staff for the new operations.

The video-conferencing services provider said in a statement that is also doubling its data centre capacity in the country. The San Jose, California-based company launched the Singapore data centre, its first in Southeast Asia, in August.

The company has seen a surge in users of its video conferencing service this year, with millions of workers and students using its video platform as they work and study from home due to the coronavirus-led lockdowns.

“We plan to immediately hire employees,” Velchamy Sankarlingam, president of product and engineering for Zoom, said while floating the company’s expansion plans.

Zoom said it would select the location for its new centre as pandemic-related remote-work mode subsides, adding to its existing R&D centers in the United States, India, and China.

Singapore in recent years has been ramping up its efforts to lure firms related to technology – including global players such as Facebook (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google, and Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba (NYSE:) – a sector it hopes will power the city-state’s economic growth.

Last month, the low-tax global business hub announced a new work visa for foreign executives of technology firms, even as it tightens broader immigration curbs to try and assuage fears over competition for jobs due to rising unemployment.

Zoom has previously said its hiring plans for Singapore would include engineers and sales staff. The company said it has more than 3,800 employees globally, but did not provide a headcount for its Singapore operations.

While the share price has climbed about 500% in 2020, Zoom warned last month that margins would remain under pressure next year as its high number of free users makes it hard to offset a spike in costs to maintain growth.

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