Forest City, the sprawling US$100 billion property development being built on artificial islands in Malaysia’s version of Shenzhen bordering Singapore, is already slated to have seafront high-tech office complexes, schools and hotels.
Now, its Chinese developer, Country Garden Holdings, has unveiled plans to launch a traditional Chinese medicine hub to serve its future population of 700,000 people, many of whom will be from China.
Country Garden Pacificview, the joint venture holding company that owns Forest City, said in a statement on Friday that it had signed an agreement with the Foshan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine to establish a satellite facility within the still-developing city.
Forest City is a 1,400-hectare mixed development being built on the southern tip of Malaysia, just off the border with Singapore. The area surrounding it – the Iskandar development zone – is seen as Malaysia’s answer to Shenzhen.
“The hospital has a particular focus in orthopaedics and traumatology, thanks to its in-house research institute and a research laboratory focused on traditional Chinese medicine,” Country Garden Pacificview said.
“The agreement paves the way for the establishment of Foshan’s first hospital outside China, and potentially the largest traditional Chinese medicine hospital in Malaysia,” it added.
There are also plans for Forest City to help Malaysian health authorities draw Chinese medical tourists to the Southeast Asian country, including those seeking assisted reproductive treatment. This is “in line with burgeoning interest from the Chinese in medical tourism”, said the developer.
The homebuilder on Friday also unveiled what it billed as the “world’s largest” industrialised building system facility. It said the facility would “house the entire production base for the construction of Forest City, and integrate construction design, precast concrete production, transportation, processing of accessories, assembly construction, as well as materials research and development.”
The facility streamlines the production of building parts through digitisation and automation.
“While the initial focus of the facility will be to accelerate the development of Forest City, excess capacity will also be used to support the growing construction opportunities in Southeast Asia,” Country Garden Pacificview said. The Hong Kong-listed homebuilder also announced a tie-up with PCCW Global for the development of a new data centre.
The announcements come months after the high-profile Forest City development came under intense scrutiny following Beijing’s aggressive measures to tighten capital controls.
Some of its Chinese buyers were stranded, unable to make payments due to the annual US$50,000 foreign exchange quota for Chinese nationals. The developer said it offered to refund payments made by these buyers.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post this week, Yu Runze, the president and chief strategy officer of Country Garden Pacificview, said: “The project is progressing very smoothly as planned.” Its first tranche of apartments are due to be ready next year, but the entire project will not be completed until 2035. Forest City is a joint venture involving Country Garden and Esplanade Danga 88, a Malaysian holding company controlled by Ibrahim Ismail, the influential monarch of the Johor state.