Singapore's Fight To Keep `Making Something'

Singapore's future may be in services, but it's fighting to hold a manufacturing base

For months, the governments of Singapore and Malaysia waged a bidding war for the mind and money of Lim Huat Seng. As managing director of Asian operations for Packard Bell NEC Inc., Lim would play a key role in deciding where the Sacramento-based personal-computer giant would build a 2,000-worker assembly plant in Southeast Asia. On Dec. 10, Packard Bell gave the nod to Penang, Malaysia. The Malaysians offered a sweet deal, including leasing the land for the 400,000 square-foot complex at a mere $5 per square foot over 60 years. Land in Singapore, says Lim, would be "40 to 50 times more expensive."

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