Honeywell, Seeking to Capitalize on SE Asia's Emerging Markets, Opens New HQ in Malaysia

Honeywell International, an American diversified global technology and manufacturing company, opened its new regional headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday (02/10) as part of its strategy to tap into Southeast Asia's robust economies. (Photo courtesy of Honeywell)

By : Tabita Diela | on 3:33 PM October 03, 2017
Category : Business, Corporate Updates

Kuala Lumpur. Honeywell International, an American diversified global technology and manufacturing company, opened its new regional headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday (02/10) as part of its strategy to tap into Southeast Asia's robust economies.

The new headquarters occupies 74,000 square feet at the UOA Corporate Tower in Bangsar South City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where 400 Honeywell employees occupy the 25th-28th floors.

"Today also marks the culmination, and the beginning, of an idea that started about four years ago [...] to create an Asean hub that would serve as a base, easily accessible to the rest of the region," Briand Greer, Honeywell Asean president, said in his keynote speech.

The Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) bloc is home to about 650 million tech-savvy people and the region is on track to become the world's fourth-largest economy by 2050, Greer said. By setting up a more focused regional headquarters in Southeast Asia — Honeywell has another regional headquarters based in Shanghai, China — the company will be able to provide timely decision-making and locally tailored products.

The new headquarters will be home to Honeywell's business groups, including aerospace; home and building technologies; performance materials and technologies; as well as safety and productivity solutions. The headquarters also includes an area to showcase Honeywell's products and high-tech solutions for connected transportation, homes, industrial and workers.

Greer said the company sees opportunities for Honeywell's products in the region on the emergence of smart cities, e-commerce, more extensive use of cloud computing and a dormant Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is expected to open up new opportunities once the agreement is set back in motion.

Started as a company that sold innovative devices in the early 1900s, the New Jersey-based Honeywell is now creating connected solutions for advanced cockpits, connected homes, refining petrochemical process technology and connected workers to ensure their safety within a plant.

"In a way, we are disrupting ourselves," Greer said.

Choosing Malaysia

According to Greer, Honeywell chose Kuala Lumpur as the location for its hub in Southeast Asia due to its strategic location and the ease for foreigners to fit in due to Malaysia's English-speaking, multicultural and multi-ethnic community.

"The other thing I'd say is that the timing was good," he said.

Honeywell's decision to set up a headquarters in Southeast Asia came just in time for the Malaysian Investment Development Authority's new initiative to create the so-called Malaysian Principal Hub, Greer said.

According to an explanation from PwC, creating a presence in the Malaysian capital will make Honeywell eligible for incentives, including low income tax rates of between 0 percent and 10 percent, and other advantages such as customs-free import of raw materials, components or finished products into free trade zones and no local equity ownership conditions.

"Every government has their own package that they provide [...] All the governments offer tax breaks and various things. It was the combination of the whole thing for us that makes KL the winner," Greer said.

Alex J. Pollack, Honeywell Indonesia president director, told the Jakarta Globe that setting up the new facility in Malaysia will allow it to provide leadership training for its employees across Southeast Asia and get them in touch with high-level leaders of the company.

The Jakarta Globe was in Kuala Lumpur upon Honeywell's invitation to attend the opening ceremony of its new headquarters.

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