IBM plants high-end systems facility in Asia

update The US$64 million plant will manufacture Big Blue's System z mainframes and Power server architecture systems for its clients across Asia, Africa and Europe.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--As part of its strategy to establish a global network of high-end manufacturing or development plants, IBM opened a new facility in Singapore today.

The S$90 million (US$64.3 million) IBM Singapore Technology Park (ISTP) will be rolling out Big Blue's System z mainframes and Power server architecture systems, and function as the company's manufacturing and fulfillment center for its high-end systems client across Asia, Africa and Europe, stated IBM.

Additionally, the 365,000-square-foot facility will take on the responsibility of meeting customers' orders for the company's disk and tape storage technology, as well as related hardware appliances.

The Singapore plant is the latest addition to IBM's network of manufacturing facilities, and is the company's first high-end server manufacturing facility in Asia. In the past four months, new openings have been rolled out in Guadalajara, Mexico; Poughkeepsie, U.S.; and Manchester, U.K..

"The investments help us deliver innovative systems to our clients that are optimized to manage the explosive growth of transactions and data, while gaining competitive advantage via predictive analytics and by reducing data center costs," said Rod Adkins, senior vice president and group executive, IBM systems and technology group.

According to Adkins, who was a keynote speaker during the facility's opening ceremony, the U.S. plant is the second of three high-end server manufacturing facilities, besides Singapore, and caters to the North American market. The third is in Montpellier, France. The Manchester facility, on the other hand, is a new systems software development laboratory, while the plant in Mexico focuses on storage production. These buildings reflect the company's ongoing investments in workload-optimized systems.

The ISTP investment is just one component of IBM's global-scale, four-pronged business strategy, said Adkins. These four areas of focus include: growth markets; analytics; next-generation data centers and cloud computing; and its Smarter Planet agenda, he added.

Of these, the IBMer noted that the company has been actively collaborating with Singapore in various areas to transform it into a smarter city. Citing the work done with the local Land Transport Authority, he mentioned that IBM had helped the former in formulating its traffic management system.

"With this system in place, the LTA is now able to predict traffic 60 minutes into the future and with 85 percent accuracy," said Adkins.

The ISTP is not the only local investment by IBM in recent times.

Earlier in April, Big Blue cooperated with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to open "The Innovation Place"--a facility that aims to provide a platform for local businesses to leverage the company's technology to create new products and services.

According to Teresa Lim, managing director of IBM Singapore, The Innovation Place offers a series of workshops, business consultations and plans tailored for both large enterprises as well as small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the country.

Meanwhile, IBM also collaborated with local tertiary institute, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to launch its high-performance computing (HPC) center in February.

The supercomputer, which was built using Big Blue's technology and hardware, is expected to support about 300 to 400 professors and researchers by year's end, according to a separate ZDNet Asia report.

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