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Alibaba, ByteDance, Tencent Plan Further Expansion Into “Political Neutral” Singapore

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Singaporeans might be seeing more local job postings from Chinese tech companies later in 2021.

Sportel Asia Conference

Credit: Sean Lee/Getty Images for Sportel

Tencent, Alibaba and Bytedance have been eyeing Singapore as an excellent expansion zone to better focus on the booming Southeast Asian markets according to an AFP report published by Yahoo Finance. These companies are hoping to place themselves in a politically neutral zone between the US and China.

The three Chinese tech companies mentioned have already established a foothold in Singapore, by starting their own respective local offices, according to a South China Morning Post article.

These companies were looking to expand in Singapore due to growing pressure at home. The AFP reported that Chinese authorities were tightening the political screws at home due to the companies’ growing power. Regulators have already hit several firms with heavy fines and threatened to divide massive companies as evidence of the growing pressure.

Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group was one of the victims of Chinese regulators. Credit: Jemal Countess – Getty Images

However, tensions at home are not the only problem Chinese tech companies have to face. Some sanctions from the Trump administration have yet to be rescinded by US President Joe Biden which makes the US “an unattractive prospect” according to AFP. Additionally, India and other European countries have also placed sanctions on these companies in response to border conflicts and the Chinese government’s treatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority respectively.

Singapore presents a politically neutral ground given its good ties with both the West and China. Additionally, these tech companies consider the country as a great staging ground to better cultivate the growing opportunities in the Southeast Asian market.

tencent job postings

A screenshot of Tencent’s hiring site Credit: Tencent

Daljit Sall, Senior Director for Information Technology at the Singapore office of global recruitment firm Randstad, admitted to AFP that the current supply of local talent has been outpaced by the demand created by rapidly developing technology. This means that there won’t be enough Singaporeans that will competently work the job they’ll be hired to. However, Sall stressed that the urgent need to fill the skills gaps now remains.

AFP reported that Singaporean schools are offering courses to prepare students for tech jobs to quickly fill the said skill gap as well as hiring overseas talent. However, the latter option might not be as popular as the former because having more foreigners residing in the country might cause unease with the local populace.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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