SINGAPORE (July 9): Choosing Singapore as the location for Dyson’s headquarters was a natural choice, according to chief executive officer Jim Rowan.

“It made sense for us to have the epicentre of the business closer to where the manufacturing, final stage of product design, supply chain, and sales growth [are],” says Rowan.

The island republic already plays host to Dyson’s digital motor manufacturing facility and Singapore technology centre.

“It wasn’t tax related,” Rowan adds. “It was capability related to get the right people in the right time zone in a market that’s growing quickly for us.”

Dyson currently has its manufacturing operations in Southeast Asia, with products finished in Malaysia and Philippines.

As such, the electronic products manufacturer been mostly unaffected by Brexit woes as well as trade tensions between US and China.

Meanwhile Rowan remains tight lipped about Dyson’s electric vehicle development, declining to give updates about its plans to build an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Singapore.

“We say 2021 is a reasonable time to scale up the project,” Rowan says. “The technology is pretty complex and the marketplace itself is becoming more and more complex as it becomes a bigger and bigger piece of the automotive industry.”

While Singapore is still relatively new to EV manufacturing, Rowan notes that California too was not known for EV manufacturing until Tesla decided to build its first plant there.

“That industry is still developing and the places where people want to manufacture their EV products and their sub-assemblies is still in the development phase,” says Rowan.

According to the chief executive, Singapore also provides a skilled workforce for Dyson.

The slowdown of the precision engineering industry in Singapore has allowed the company to hire experienced engineers for its own manufacturing plant.

“If you look at some of the industries that Singapore has been known for, from printer to disk drives to semi-conductors. That’s driven a capability of precision and mechatronic engineering. In our digital motor facility we have a lot of people who used to work in the disk drive industry. As it declined, they’ve joined us and used the skills they have honed at Dyson,” says Rowan.

With products based off its understanding of airflow and digital motors, Dyson has clearly moved into sectors that it could disrupt. Its recent lighting business, however, seems like a step in a different direction.

But Rowan emphasises that Dyson’s focus is on solving problems and caring about people’s health. This has been at the forefront of the group’s decision to build products to enter new sectors, he says.

From vacuum cleaners and air purifiers that trap dust and particles to lighting solutions that help with circadian rhythms, Rowan says these products have benefits and help to improve people’s health.

“Hair dryers and hand dryers are the same thing: you can do away a ton of paper towels which is environmentally a bad thing. We don’t have a heater in our hairdryer, which is an environmentally bad thing. We use air to scrape the water off,” he says.

“When we enter the market we tend to use technology to make a product better than anything else and solve a real problem,” he adds.