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Seagate opens design centre to focus on mobile-storage products

Lim Hng Kiang pledges government's continued support for growing the sector

SEAGATE'S RED-LETTER DAY: (Above, from left) NUS dean of the Faculty of Engineering Chua Kee Chaing, Seagate Technology president (operations and technology) Dave Mosley and NTU associate dean of the College of Engineering Tay Beng Kang.
SEAGATE'S RED-LETTER DAY: Mr Lim (above) says that technological change has meant that the data-storage industry must be nimble. Seagate presented S$300,000 to NUS and NTU to grow the pool of graduates in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.


SINGAPORE on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the growth of the data storage and broader electronics industry at the opening of Seagate's S$100 million design centre in one-north.

The Shugart, as the 40,000 sq m facility is called, will house more than 900 employees and focus on developing 2.5-inch thin mobile-storage products for the personal computer, notebook and tablet markets globally.

It is Seagate's first facility worldwide that has been named after its founder Al Shugart, The Business Times understands.

Stephen Luczo, the chairman and chief executive of the Nasdaq-listed storage-solutions firm said: "Its location in the vibrant one-north area means good proximity to media and tech companies, as well as supercomputer data centres that see value in storing content, which adds to product synergies and dynamism."

Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, who was at the opening, noted that the American company had in 1982 become the first investor to set up a disk drive component sub-assembly plant in Singapore, kickstarting the growth of the data-storage industry here.

"At peak, more than half the world's hard disk drive units were made in Singapore ... (but) the fast pace of technological change has meant that the data-storage industry must continually plan for the needs of tomorrow. The government remains committed to working with key partners like Seagate to ensure that Singapore continues to be a lead location to design and manufacture the critical components and drives," he said.

Seagate, one of Singapore's largest electronics companies, now hires some 7,000 employees across three facilities. Beyond data storage, electronics manufacturing and robotics technologies will also continue to enjoy support from the government, Mr Lim added.

At the opening on Friday, Seagate presented S$300,000 to the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University to nurture students in the sciences, engineering, technology and mathematics.

Chief technology officer Mark Re told BT: "Singapore's highly advanced education system and the individual's passion to excel have built an environment that gives us the talents we require to succeed." The Singapore R&D team has been key in driving Seagate's innovation leadership in the last 30 years, he said. Among the key products developed from R&D in Singapore are the Seagate Laptop Ultrathin HDD - the world's thinnest 2.5-inch drive at 5mm in height - and the Seagate STI, the first one-inch drive to offer 2.5GB and 5GB capacities that went into the making of Apple's iPod Mini.

Asked what defined Seagate's company culture, Mr Re listed three things - people, innovation and collaboration. "Teamwork is critical in building a fun and effective environment in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," he said.

Mr Luczo added: "As a tech company, the value of which typically always increases over time, we see it as our job to point people to what's about to come. In my view, the new clients of data storage include robots, virtual reality machines, and drones."