Regional president of the Malaysia Project for Country Garden Holdings Company Limited Kayson Yuen (KY) and managing director of Country Garden Properties (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Chai Keng Wai (CKW) share with PropertyGuru their property development plans, ‘5 star living' concept and community projects.
Q. What is your business background and why has Country Garden chosen to expand its development to Malaysia?
KY: Country Garden has had over 20 years' experience in building townships. Over the years, we have created over 100 townships spread out in almost every main city in China .In our township, you enjoy not only high-quality products, perfect facilities, state-of-the-art landscapes and in addition to that we also wish to pioneer our clients to live a 5-star lifestyle.
As a top 10 developer in China, we also hope to venture in to another take-off through development, overseas market development seems to be the best opportunity and great challenge for us to undertake.
Country Garden (China) formed a professional research team which included our founder to conduct serious studies in several countries to identify the most suitable place for investment. In 2011, after considering all aspects for investment (location, environmental resources, cultural, etc.) we have made our decision on Malaysia because of its overall favourable conditions, investment environment as well as real estate development has great potential. Malaysia is our first station overseas.
Q. Why has Country Garden and Mayland decided to enter a joint venture in Malaysia?
KY: Even though Country Garden is well established in China and is listed in the Hong Kong Stock Market, we are new in Malaysia. To start anew is not easy. We have to adhere to our ‘fast development and sales' business model; we want to adapt to and blend in the local market as soon as possible, so we figured that we can cooperate with an established local developer, after all a win-win co-operation would be the most efficient way.
Our JV with Mayland is honestly circumstantial. Our chairman, Mr Kwok Keung Yeung and Tan Sri David Chiu are good friends. Also, their development ideas correlate as both of our entities insist to build products which are brilliant, high quality with competitive prices and also focus to develop in high developing areas with a wonderful environment, convenient facilities and also great opportunity for capital appreciation.
CKW: In recent years, it is the trend and Malaysia society's need to have an ideal township life bearing a conducive environment, which includes comprehensive facilities, high standard of safe and secured community, practical and efficient layout. Mayland has vast experience in local property industry and proud to say that with good track records and big crowd of home-buyers follower, we think we should expand even further and Country Garden Holdings is the correct partner for us.
Q. What aspects will each company bring to the table in this JV?
KY: We will mainly introduce our ‘5-star living' model to Malaysia, which are: located in high-developing city areas, with diversified and high quality exotic products, large-scale and self-contained facilities, state-of-the-art landscapes and world-class property management.
The ‘5-star living' model is successful and highly popular in China, we want to bring all the best elements of our township to Malaysia, and we will also seamlessly adapt to local needs to deliver optimised value to the Malaysian people, just as the tagline says: '5-Star Living For You'.
CKW: With almost 20 years of good experience in local property development, we are well versed with the local property market's requirement and know what suits Malaysians' needs. We have a wide range of social networking with local property industries as well as authorities that enable us not only to act as guide in this JV but also as a catalyst to ensure the success of the projects.
Q. What are the ‘5 Star living' products that you plan to bring in to the Malaysian property market?
KY: Country Garden has their very own design institute and professional teams that constantly develop, evolve and innovate our products. Currently we have over 100 large-scale project designing experience.
The products that we intend to bring into Malaysia are based on our more popular designs, and have undergone some improvement upon taking in the local needs that were suggested by Mayland's professional marketing team. We hope to create a comprehensible, adaptive and unique product to entice the local market.
Also we ensure that the products we bring in are diversified products designed to fulfil the varying needs of different customer bases. Some of the products are our highly popular mansion diamond villas, Spanish-style bungalows and modern-style super links and link houses.
The five star living products are:
a) Location - A strategic area out and away from the bustling city centre that is endowed with a variety of transportation hubs and facilities that embodies the convenience we want for our townships.
b) Product - We pride ourselves on our townships. From developing over 100 townships all over China, we have picked the crème of the crop for development in Malaysia. Incorporating our in house designs in terms of layout and functionality, we humanise the developments to meet the needs of the local scene.
c) Infrastructure & Landscape - Looking at the surroundings in Malaysia, needless to say that the landscape offers a brand new variety of ideas to us that will differ from the China landscapes. The five star brands isn't limited to the quality of the houses we produce but it spans out to the townships we develop. We go out to the extent that we pick trees that are only of the same latitude and put them through eight different designing angles.
d) Security - The quality of property management in Malaysia still has room for improvement. We intend to bring in our expertise in the aspect and provide world-class standard to our development. We do not look at the profitability but with the objective to provide a conducive environment for our home-buyers.
e) Townships - ‘Happy Living' is the culture we want to incorporate in the Malaysian market. In the hype of progress, most have neglected in even simple things like getting to know their neighbours. In our townships, we will conduct activities to bring this forgotten culture back in to Malaysia such as photo contests, hiking, family travels, golf and many more. Bonding between neighbours is strongly encouraged. Other than that, the housing concepts that we are looking at are resort homes that are nature inspired. Spa centres, sports centres, childcare centres, library and so much more just within the township vicinity.
The '5-star' concept is aimed towards organically separating work and living by having townships outside the city centre.
Q. Currently Malaysia is focused on green space architectures. Will your upcoming developments incorporate to this cause?
CKW: In this context, Mayland plays a vital role. As part of the effort of increasing Earth's sustainability, we are adopting GBI for our projects. We take into consideration the green concept for our projects, not only in reducing carbon emission but also encouraging the recycling of used construction materials hence reducing waste, promoting electricity generating by solar and water from existing stream, etc. For the site planning, we will try to maintain the existing earth terrain and stream so that there is no massive earthwork activity. Nevertheless, one of the important values of our projects is to always provide serene and green landscapes for each and every home with private garden that is designed by our JV partner landscape experts who have vast experience in the resort homes concept.
Q. What is your target market?
KY: Our target market shall be a mixture of local and foreign buyers such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and even Middle East, but the majority would be local buyers. As for the China buyers, we have initiated some marketing and registration activities and the response has been overwhelming with over 2000 registrations.
Q. What is the five year growth plan of Country Garden/Mayland in Malaysia?
KC: While we are focused on our upcoming developments but we will also be simultaneously devoting ourselves to charity, social affairs and cross-cultural communication between Malaysia and China as this is the foundation that the mainland company stands on as well. In China, Country Garden is part of a charitable body called the Dream of The Phoenix. Through it Country Garden has funded free schooling opportunities for children that are academically gifted and from a poor background. In Malaysia, Country Garden has organised fund raisers for an elderly home in Semenyih and built a community hall for a primary school in Rawang.
These are just a few of the many community projects that we have planned. Soon after that, we are looking to buy more land to increase our land bank as our plans in Malaysia are for the long run.
CKW: For the long term plan of this JV entity, we will develop more good projects in Malaysia and therefore we look to increase our land bank. The current two projects' locations, namely Semenyih and Rawang, are the upcoming hotspots in the Malaysian property market. We think Semenyih, which is in the southern region of Selangor, will be turning into "a hot cake" as we could see the growing of infrastructure and development in terms of commercial and social elements of the neighbouring areas. As for Northern Selangor like Rawang and Serendah, these areas will follow the same phenomenon and it's a good thing that there is still a lot of sizable land, coupled with the green lung as the backdrop, all conducive for big township developments. Besides Selangor, we are also looking for land in Penang and Johor, which we feel are full of opportunities.
Country Garden, "China's Well-Known Trademark" enterprise was established in 1992 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007. Country Garden is known as one of the top 10 developers in China. Last year, Forbes Asia listed Country Garden as one of the FAB 50 companies, with an estimated market value of USD 7.6bil. It is one of China's leading integrated property developers, with businesses comprising of construction, installation, fitting, property development, property management, as well as hotel development and management.
Mayland Group is primarily engaged in property development in both residential,service apartment and commercial segments in Malaysia. The group is touted as the largest condominium and mid-range to high-end housing.Current property developments exceed 10,000 units in prime locations. Its highly-successful Plaza Damas integrated serviced suites and shopping complex, The Regalia @Jalan Sultan Ismail, The Elements @Ampang and more.