Avaya to invest over US$55 million in Asia<img src="http://images.asia.cnet.com/i/g/update.gif" border=0>

Call center and networking solutions provider Avaya Singapore will be investing more than S$49 million (US$28 million) yearly from now to the end of September 2003 to expand itsactivities and business in the region, the company announced yesterday.

SINGAPORE--Networking and call center solutions provider Avaya Singapore will invest S$49 million (US$28 million) yearly from now until the end of September 2003 to expand its activities and business in Asia, the company announced yesterday.

Avaya, which spun off from Lucent Technologies a year ago, has already invested US$80 million in the region over the past year from its Singapore-based headquarters.

The company currently has over 800 employees and 25 offices in Asia Pacific. Its operations include two laboratories, two research and development centers, four training centers, five centers of excellence and five executive briefing centers. A major part of the investment will go toward expanding these support services, especially in the training and support of channel partners.

"Our channels are our way to get to the market," said Daniel McConaghy, Avaya's chief operating officer and vice president (BusinessPartner) for Asia Pacific, "so (a lot of) our investment will go toward them…to support the end user customer."

The company's main training center in the region, housed in Singapore, has already clocked 8,000 training days since last October. Avaya Asia Pacific president Mark Leigh expects the number to increase in the coming year.

The planned investment was announced at a presentation ceremony where Avaya was awarded the Business Headquarters (BHQ) status by Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB). The investment is part of a commitment Avaya has made to remain qualified for the BHQ program under which multinational corporations are granted various incentives to base their regional headquarters in the country.

The program recognizes MNCs here which have reached a certain level of activity and responsibility and awards them tax rebates and assistance in cutting through government red tape.

Approximately 200 out of the 6,000 foreign companies operating in the country have been awarded the status as of end-2000, according to an EDB statement. An EDB representative declined to reveal the details of the incentives that Avaya will be receiving, stating that these and the level of activity that the board is looking for differ from case to case.

Avaya's Leigh noted that there will be sizeable tax relief for the company and pointed out that the commitment for fulfilling the BHQ status is a long-term one.

"They give a set term of years within which you can get a certain amount of tax rebates," said Leigh, "but the commitment is a long-term one. Avaya will have to keep up a certain level of investment and activity in order to continue to qualify for the incentives."

Avaya, which posted a profit of US$24 million in the last quarter ended June 30, was named recently by Frost & Sullivan as the leader of call center and wireless local area network (LAN) solutions providers in the region. According to the research firm, Avaya holds an estimated 27 percent share of the Asia Pacific market in both these areas.

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