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GM to Open Singapore Headquarters to Back Emerging-Market Thrust

General Motors Co., the Detroit-based carmaker that counts China as its biggest market, will open a new headquarters in Singapore to oversee markets including Southeast Asia and India.

The offices will open in the second quarter of 2014 with Stefan Jacoby, an executive vice president, overseeing about 120 employees, the Detroit-based company said in an e-mailed statement. The operation, currently based in Shanghai, will also direct businesses in South Korea, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, according to the statement.

GM reorganized its overseas businesses in August to separate China, naming Tim Lee chairman of operations in the world’s largest car market and putting Jacoby in control of the more than 100 countries and territories. GM will keep its China headquarters in Shanghai where Lee oversees 12 joint ventures and more than 55,000 employees.

“What GM wants to do is strengthen its sales in high-growth markets in Asia and Africa, especially markets such as Indonesia,” said Namrita Chow, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Shanghai. “A hub in Singapore will help GM expand its focus on these markets without those markets being sidelined by the huge China operations.”

GM entered India in 1994 and has two factories in the country. In Thailand, the automaker operates one plant that builds pickup trucks and passenger vehicles.

GM sold 2.84 million autos in China last year, making the country its biggest single market, and expects to deliver 3 million vehicles this year. The U.S. automaker is spending $11 billion by 2016 on new plants and products in China and is building four assembly plants there to boost its production capacity to five million vehicles a year by 2015.

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