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Where is your headquarters?
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The old joke goes like this. If you can't see an obvious reason why the headquarters of a major company is located where it is, check the CEO's spouse's shopping preferences. Sadly, I know of at least one company in our industry which moved its headquarters for exactly this reason. The board was anxious to woo a certain individual as CEO (despite a dubious ethics record) and voted to move their headquarters to the city preferred by his wife and hence, him.

I have just spent close to two weeks in Singapore, and, at first blush, it has a lot to recommend it as at least a satellite headquarters location. When you think about where the growth is coming in the pulp and paper industry, look at the flying times from Singapore.

Within 8 hours:

Jakarta

Shanghai

Mumbai

Brisbane

Within 14 hours:

Helsinki

Cape Town

Amsterdam

Within 25 hours:

Santiago

Atlanta

Sao Paulo

Ask yourself, where is the future growth in the industry likely to be?

Singapore has a great government system (it is run like a business), is very safe and extremely modern. Sitting 1.5 degrees north of the equator it is warm, but not unbearably so (I have lived in worse in the States). Likely your lead bank has a major office here. Likely your products are already transshipped here. The tax burden on business is extremely favorable.

If nothing else, this is the place for centralized services (IT, purchasing, logistics and so forth). Plenty of talent available. There is a lot to recommend Singapore.

And, no I did not solicit or receive any remuneration from the Singapore Chamber of Commerce!

Jim Thompson is CEO of Paperitalo Publications.

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