31 October 17 The Business Times by CHIA YAN MIN
BRITISH pharmaceutical giant GSK officially opened its Asia headquarters here on Monday.
Called GSK Asia House, the facility in Rochester Park functions as the commercial hub for more than half of the company's global healthcare operations.
More than 800 employees work there, including the senior regional leadership teams of the pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare businesses.
The Singapore headquarters will work alongside GSK's US hub to support its global headquarters in Britain in managing commercial activities around the world. The company declined to reveal how much it invested in the 14,330 sq m facility, which has been up and running since May.
GSK was the first global healthcare company to establish a presence in Singapore, opening an outlet in 1959. Since then, it has invested more than US$2.5 billion here.
The company has manufacturing sites in Quality Road and Jurong, as well as a vaccine manufacturing facility in Tuas. It employs around 1,600 people here.
"In building our new regional headquarters . . . we aim to create a more agile, high performing and sustainable business in Asia, with the very best talent," GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley said at the ceremony.
The Singapore headquarters will also play a critical role in developing the next generation of leaders at the company, she added.
The facility includes a learning and development centre that aims to nurture a pipeline of leadership talent from Asia who can be considered for global roles. The programme is projected to train more than 250 individuals over five years, including 50 Singaporeans.
GSK has also established a Shopper Science Lab in Singapore to drive growth in key markets such as China, India and South-east Asia through in-depth analysis of shopper behaviour and collaboration with retailers.
The firm's decision to locate GSK Asia House here, alongside 30 other top biomedical science companies' regional headquarters, reflects Singapore's importance as a strategic hub for businesses to tap Asia's growing healthcare market, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the opening ceremony.
Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin said: "Ageing populations and the growing affluence in Asia point to the strong potential of the healthcare market.
"GSK's new Asia headquarters in Singapore will position the company well to capture these opportunities. This investment represents yet another milestone in GSK's long-standing partnership with Singapore, and is testament to Singapore's attractiveness as the biomedical hub in this region."