Netflix, HBO, Other Global Content Creators Set Up Asian Bases in Media-Friendly Singapore

Variety | 10/14/2019 | Pavan Shamdasani
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Netflix runs its Asian operations from the swanky Marina One mixed-use development in Singapore, an architectural masterpiece that fits in with the streaming giant’s dedication to Instagrammable real estate.

Netflix’s presence in Singapore follows other major media names over the years, including HBO Asia, Vice Media and HOOQ, all of whom have Asian headquarters in the island state.

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“Singapore has many location advantages,” says Chang Long Jong, CEO of local production company, mm2 Asia. English is “the functional language” and productions can easily tap into “multi-lingual, skilled and experienced production crews.”

Political stability and the country’s many tax- and grant-based incentives are also regularly cited as key factors that make filming — as well as establishing companies — there attractive, and some predict the number of regional headquarters will only increase over the next decade.

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“It’s an encouraging sign that major OTT players are stepping up their presence in the Asian region, and using Singapore as a landing spot,” says Ho Jia Jian, CEO and co-founder of local streaming service Viddsee. “As with new growth markets, what we’ll see are different players coming in to provide diverse avenues for content for a variety of market niches — so it’s not a one-winner-takes-all situation.”

Indeed, diversification and variety are essential, but not everyone is so positive about the growth. Content is becoming borderless, and China and India are starting to assert their dominance in the entertainment stakes. With that in mind, many see the concept of a “regional headquarters” as eroding.

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