SLICK cities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am


Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand - the economic powerhouses of Southeast Asia - have enjoyed significant growth in the past decade, mainly through adopting an open-door policy.

Singapore and Thailand were the first to open their economies to overseas businesses, with the Lion City encouraging foreign professionals to make it their home. Thailand invited Japanese and Korean companies, especially carmakers, to open factories, creating jobs for thousands of Thais. Malaysia soon followed suit and its own home-grown companies attracted many well-educated expatriates.

With strong economies, all three countries have attracted thousands of foreign professionals to their shores. With more businesspeople coming, the serviced-apartment sector has grown rapidly.

Joanne Ang, Frasers Hospitality group's director of sales and marketing, says its serviced apartments have seen significant growth in recent years. Most guests are long-term stayers and professionals who work for multinational corporations.

Bangkok is a mix of traditional and modern lifestyles. At Your Service Southeast Asia, in association with media partner the Bangkok Post, explores the Thai capital's nightlife, shopping, dining, spas and health centres. If one is taking a look at the serviced apartment industry in Southeast Asia, Singapore cannot be ignored. Rising from a sleepy fishing village, when Sir Stamford Raffles first set foot there, the city state has risen to be a modern metropolis.

The Lion City enjoys a high standard of living and is a financial centre on a par with Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. With its clean reputation, businesspeople have thronged to Singapore, firing the growth of the serviced-apartment sector, which matches those of Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney.

A senior Singapore Tourism Board official says the city's energetic and fresh face juxtaposes with rich traditions, culture and architecture that blend East and West. From the bustling hawker centres and heritage trails, to an amazing mix of entertainment, retail and lifestyle choices, Singapore has it all.

Kuala Lumpur has transformed itself from the backwater capital of Malaysia to a modern, bustling city of skyscrapers and top-notch facilities, all in just about 15 years. In the article on Kuala Lumpur, we take a look at some of the serviced apartments, the facilities they offer and how they compare with their international counterparts.