Mapletree pledges to build Singapore model communities in China

The Temasek-owned property player uses city state as model for project plans

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2015, 1:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2015, 1:00am

Mapletree Investments, an Asia-focused real estate development and capital management company, has taken a cue from the Chinese government's urbanisation drive, pledging to build more Singapore-model communities in China's coastal cities as it seeks further growth opportunities in the world's second-largest economy.

"We want to grow in different cities," said Quek Kwang Meng, the regional chief executive of Mapletree's China and India operations. "With that growth, we will see whichever is suitable in that city and we put in necessary components."

Mapletree, which is owned by Singapore state investor Temasek, concentrates on coastal cities to develop not only shopping malls, office buildings, residential complexes and logistic properties, but also brings high-quality education and medical services to China, Quek said.

"We want people to see our willingness to build a community," he said.

The Singapore firm is introducing kindergartens, schools and hospitals to its VivoCity projects in China, a move to create synergy between the country's urbanisation drive and its developments.

As people migrate to coastal cities, a lack of kindergartens and schools is becoming a major concern since they hope to give their children good education. Quek said Mapletree would work with its partners to offer education and medical services of a better standard to allay these concerns.

In Shanghai, the company started its marketing launch of VivoCity Shanghai, a five-storey shopping mall and an upcoming landmark in Minhang district, which is next to Mapletree Business City Shanghai, an office-building complex it developed.

The VivoCity in Shanghai is Mapletree's third development of its kind in China, and the combined project of the shopping mall and the office buildings is its largest single investment in the country.

VivoCity is a brand based on the success of VivoCity Singapore, the city state's largest shopping mall that is known as a one-stop lifestyle and retail destination for families and individuals.

Quek said Mapletree was in talks with other cities to build more VivoCity shopping malls. The Chinese leadership is striving to quicken the pace of urbanisation, citing it as one of the key drivers for the country's further growth.

But in the country's most developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, rarely can land in prime locations be found for developments.

Quek said companies would increasingly consider the option of moving to decentralised but high-quality office space, creating growth opportunities for developers like Mapletree.

Mapletree's China businesses have about a combined S$10 billion of assets under management. The company entered China with investments in logistic properties a decade ago. Mapletree's business scope in China has since expanded into industrial, office, retail and mixed-use developments.

In C-Suite, Quek Kwang Meng expands on the company's vision for the China market.