Amazon is expanding its operations in singapore, in the latest sign of the city-states growing appeal as an asian hub for global technology companies.

The us technology group will take over three floors of citigroups offices in the central business district, according to two people with knowledge of the deal. citi is moving a number of its employees out of the cbd to changi business park as it adjusts its operations following the covid-19 pandemic.

Singapore has tried to position itself as the centre of asias tech sector and is already home to the regional headquarters of a number of global tech companies, ranging from alibaba to facebook.

Singapores appeal has increased as chinese and us groups chase growth in south-east asias fast growing economies such as indonesia and thailand.

The city has also benefited from instability in hong kong following anti-government protests last year and beijings imposition of a new national security law in june.

The city is already amazons asia hub and amazon web services, its cloud unit, is the biggest provider by market share in the region excluding china.

Amazons decision preceded the coronavirus crisis, said one of the people with knowledge of the amazon deal.

Amazon and citi declined to comment on the decision, which was first reported by bloomberg.

Ashley swan, executive director for estate agency savills in singapore, said the tech industry was expanding unlike other sectors.

If you want to dominate south-east asia, which everyone views as a big growth engine, you springboard out of singapore, mr swan said.

It feels more significant right now because it is against the backdrop of other industries scaling down or not expanding as they thought they would, he added.

Facebook and paypal invested in gojek, the indonesian tech group, in june following earlier investments by google and visa.

Tesla, the us electric carmaker, is also recruiting for a number of positions in the city.

Chinese companies have focused on singapore, too. tencent said this month it would open a regional hub in singapore to support its south-east asia investments. alibaba bought half of a $1.2bn skyscraper in may, one of its biggest property deals outside mainland china.

Analysts expect amazon to expand into other markets in the region including indonesia, even as it lags behind local ecommerce rivals, including alibabas lazada and sea-owned shopee, in popularity in singapore.