HP Singapore

Division name: HP Singapore

Founded: 1970
Address: Redhill Industrial Estate
HP Singapore in 1977


HP Singapore was opened in April of 1970. The operation was established to manufacture core memories for HP 211X computers. HP went to great pains to emphasize that Singapore was chosen not because of low cost labor, but because the women there were more suited than those elsewhere to do the intricate stringing of the tiny doughnuts onto the fine copper wires in core memory production. HP was able to reduce the cost of its core memories by about thirty percent. By manufacturing in-house, HP also reduced its reliance on outside suppliers. Clyde Coombs was the initial manager of the core memory production in Singapore. Within months of opening, HP Singapore also began manufacturing low cost diodes for the HP Associates Division.

HP had “pioneer status” with the Singaporean government. This meant that income from the Singapore operations was largely tax free for the first several years.

By September of 1973, HP had 1800 employees in Singapore, still operating out of the top two floors (50,000 square feet) leased from the Singaporean government. HP Singapore was the fastest growing HP entity ever. Employment at HP Singapore did not reach 2000 until early 1980. In June of 1973, HP began building a new site in Penang Malaysia for the assembly of core memories. The plant was opened in October of that year. In 1974, semiconductor memory began replacing magnetic core memory in the design of new computers.

In 1975, Tom Lauhon was the general manager of the Singapore Division. In June of 1976, Lauhon returned to the US to become general manager of the new Customer Service Division within the Computer Systems Group. The Customer Service Division was responsible for field customer engineering, the repair and distribution of exchange boards and the marketing of supplies.

In late 1977, HP Singapore moved in to its newly-completed 5-storey building. It was the first HP building to employ escalators. In June of 1979, the Desktop Computer Division (Fort Collins) opened an operation in Singapore, The Desktop Computer Operation. The new operation was headed by Liong Wong. Singapore made tape cartridges and tape drives for DCD (as well as calculators).

By the middle of 1984, HP Singapore was headed by Walt Sousa, with 2500 employees. HP Singapore was now also manufacturing ThinkJet printers (for Vancouver Division), floppy disc controller boards (for Greeley Division) and keyboards for the HP-150.

By 1987, employment at HP Singapore had grown to 2700 with Koh Boon Hwee as managing director.

In 1989, two new divisions were formed in Singapore. The Asia Peripherals Division under Koh Boon Hwee was responsible for hardcopy products. The Asia-Pacific Personal Computer Division was headed by Steve Cakebread.

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