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MN-3M-HongKong 03-20

3M shifts a unit HQ to Hong Kong

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — A troubling sign for Minnesota’s economy as 3M Co. announces plans to move a division headquarters from Maplewood to Hong Kong.

The initial move involves only the leadership of 3M’s optical systems division. But it could show that the company is broadening its plan to shift its business closer to fast-growing global markets.

3M’s display and graphics business manages production of high-tech film used to enhance brightness on flat-panel TV screens and computers. The division generates nearly 20 percent of the company’s operating income.

The largest manufacturers of flat-panel products are in Asia.

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Executive vice president Mike Kelly of 3M Display and Graphics says 3M’s ability to respond to panel customers more quickly will improve because of the move.

It’s the first 3M division to move its headquarters outside the U.S. The division now employs about 300 people in Maplewood, the site of 3M’s corporate headquarters.

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