Multinational TV production group Endemol Shine is to shrink its regional office in Singapore, which had been overseeing original production in Southeast Asia. The downsized operation will continue to handle format licensing and sales of finished programming.

The surprise move was announced on the eve of the Singapore Media Festival, an umbrella event spanning film, TV and finance markets, as well as the Singapore International Film Festival. Endemol Shine’s cutback in the city state is expected to be complete by mid-2018., at which point, Fotini Paraskakis, current MD of Endemol Shine Asia, will move to an unspecified new venture.

“With the marketplace becoming ever more global, we plan to play to our strengths by focusing on our long-established production operations around the region as centers of excellence to serve our Asian clients, rather than producing out of Singapore,” Endemol Shine CEO Sophie Turner-Laing said in a memo circulated to staff.

“Going forward, a dedicated regional format sales team based out of Singapore and Mumbai will be supported centrally by [the Endemol Shine] Group and will report to Cathy Payne,” the memo said. As previously announced, Nicola Bamford is now in place as CEO of international operations and will oversee all Endemol Shine business across Asia.

“This new structure will play to Endemol Shine Asia’s principal strengths as the No. 1 formats company in the region, while adopting a more international approach to producing for Asian platforms,” Paraskakis said in a statement.

The move appears to be a shift in the opposite direction of other international TV groups, which have increasingly sought to set up or acquire local and regional production operations in Asia. While justifying the move in terms of globalization, Endemol Shine is leaving in place other Asian hubs in China and a joint venture in India.

The move also comes at a time when the Singapore outpost was doing record volumes of business. Meanwhile, the Chinese office is struggling to sell formats following a regulatory change that discourages foreign shows being acquired or remade in China.

Endemol Shine was founded by Elisabeth Murdoch. It is jointly owned by 21st Century Fox and by American private equity firm Apollo Global Management.