Bernd Schmitt to head up US$64m consumer research centre in Singapore

As the demand for luxury goods in Asia continues to grow, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University has announced its intentions to set up a research centre to investigate the habits of Asian consumers. Columbia marketing guru Bernd Schmitt is to head up the centre, which will be jointly funded to the tune of S$77m (nearly US$64) over five years by the Singapore Economic Development Board and NTU.

Based in the Nanyang Business School, the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) is expected to have 20 researchers in five years. Researchers will work across NTU, with the colleges of business, humanities and engineering. There will also be opportunities to work with the medical school, which is being set up in partnership with London’s Imperial College. ACI will also work with other local universities and NTU’s academic partners in the region as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.

NTU president Bertil Andersson said the partnership would “establish Singapore as the go-to source for Asian consumer insight. Singapore’s multi-cultural environment and strategic location in the heart of Asia will allow us to gain a better understanding of what drives Asian consumers, and how their unique tastes and cultures impact buying decisions.”

He went on to say: “Establishing this national institute fits perfectly with NTU’s strategy to become the New Silk Road of knowledge, combining the best of the East and West.”

Prof Schmitt is the faculty director of the Global Brand Leadership centre at Columbia and the academic who coined the phrase “experiential marketing”.

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