In September last year, Chinese tech giant Tencent announced that they would be opening a regional office in Singapore, with plans to use the country as a base to expand into the region.

For most people who are acquainted with Singapore, this is not such a big piece of news. After all, hundreds of the world’s largest companies, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, have set up their regional offices in Singapore, leveraging on the country’s central location, excellent infrastructure, and stable political environment.

But the move was significant — due to the pandemic, tech companies were comfortable with the idea that they could function with their employees remote-working from anywhere in the world, so why did one of the largest Internet companies see the value of a physical location?

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