M101: Malaysia’s Catalyst For Property Tourism
Reaching the impossibilities with confidence and persistence
Dato’ Seth Yap Ting Hau, the founder of M101 Holdings Berhad is a man with the vision to see beyond the horizon. His augmented dream of M101, which stands for Meridian 101 degree, was founded in 2012. The company have planned to launch 10 projects, comprising mainly small office, flexible office (SoFo) with a total Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM4 billion. Dato Seth asserted that, “We aim to promote ‘property tourism’ in Malaysia by targeting investors from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Middle East and Japan.” Seth, a lawyer by profession who has formulated broad strategies on marketing and branding, is determined to venture successfully into this exciting industry.
Dato’ Seth graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2001 and was admitted to the England bar Lincoln’s Inn as Barrister-At-Law. Thereafter he read in the chambers of Messrs Skrine & Co. and was admitted to the Malaysian bar on 25 June 2010. Dato’ Seth was conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Pahang Yang Amat Mulia with the title of ‘Dato’.
Seth was grateful that the bountiful ventures in the property sector has given him his first bucket of gold, with his legal background adding insightful knowledge on the movement of property market. Seen via the perspectives of related industries, these valuable insights have stood by him when he experienced a full cycle of property sector’s difficulties from 2004 till this date. Inevitably, this has made Seth a developer who is more prudent yet at the same time aggressive, who understands the market needs, is able to handle the challenges and tap into the vast opportunities before others spot them.
“Being a prudent developer, we are committed to champion property tourism, a concept coined by M101 Group; during the launch of the project, we have pledged RM10 million to drive the property tourism in Malaysia,” said Seth at the launch, which was officiated by Rashidi bin Hasbullah, deputy secretary general, Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
By attracting foreign tourists and investors to the local entertainment or food and beverage outlets, boutiques, retailers or hotels, Seth believes the project will be able to diversify consumption, increase consumer spending and contribute to the nation’s coffer.
With such a great vision in mind, the upcoming M101 Skywheel is a magnificent project which encompasses various components with specific purposes to cater to the needs of different groups. A mammoth expectation was projected in the feasibility study, which forecasted that approximately 1 million international tourists would arrive within the first year of completion. Based on the data compiled by Tourism Malaysia, the average per capita expenditure for a tourist is around RM2,000, which translates into a potential turnover of RM2 billion in business.
Strategically located nearby the junction of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz in Kuala Lumpur, the 78-storey Skywheel building will feature a ferris wheel at the 52nd floor, a 200,000sq.ft. Skymall located at the 48th to 52nd floors, as well as the glitzy Planet Hollywood Hotel. With direct access to the underground Kampung Baru North MRT station of the MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya Line), connectivity to various parts of Klang Valley will be greatly enhanced!
Seth joyously affirmed that, “Upon completion, Skywheel will sparkle prominently in the city as an international tourist destination. As it is a massive vertical township, we can generate a self-sustained economy locally within the mixed development itself.”
Prior to the Skywheel, M101 Group has launched their maiden project M101 Dang Wangi as well as M101 Bukit Bintang in 2014. Located in the serene Jalan Kamunting neighbourhood, M101 Dang Wangi is a freehold project with a GDV of RM130 million, and is expected for completion this year. Meanwhile, M101 Bukit Bintang has a GDV of RM320 million and is targeted for completion in 2018. Interestingly, both projects will have the Best Western Hotel, the largest hotel operator in the world as one of the anchor tenant.
M101 Dang Wangi has a land size of 11,500sq.ft. The developer has vision to develop the colonial structures and transform it to modern architectural that would still reflect the heritage of the yesteryears. The entrance will see a grand lobby which would splash up a five-star ambience for anyone who walks into the enclave. One of the exciting feature would be the state-of-the-art private car park lift with fully automated features.
Another prime project by the esteem developer is M101 Bukit Bintang, located at Jalan Baba, is subjected for completion by 2018. It has a land size of 24,907sq.ft. The strategic and desired address located in between Bukit Bintang Golden Triangle bringing all within reach like Starhill Gallery, Lot 10, and Pavilion KL.
This is a mixed development of Commercial Retails, Small Office Flexible Office (SOFO), Hotel Suite & Sky Bar with Infinity Pool. The fully furnished units are priced from RM602K – RM1.984million, with sized ranging from 407sq.ft to a whopping 1181sq.ft. per unit. The M101 Bukit Bintang comprises of 27 units of duplex, 117 units of business small office flexible office (SOFO) suites, 100 units of Best Western Hotel, 14 units of Sky Duplex retail, function and facilities too.
DELIVERING THE PROMISE
Harnessing on a rather unconventional approach, M101 is closely collaborating with prominent names like Best Western and Planet Hollywood in raising the profile of these upcoming skyscrapers. Seth stressed that brand penetration is crucial for M101, and he believed that striking a deal with popular names in related industries can earn the group a competitive edge in the future, as from his experience it would take many years for developers to gain recognition. As such, the group developed a strategy of fast tracking the brand recognition by featuring their name on the map, in order to gain the confidence of potential investors.
“We set ourselves apart by making bold moves like placing a ferris wheel 220m above ground, merely to create an experience will have ‘Wow!’ moments. We have also forged closer cooperation with various professional bodies to ensure its safety. Obviously, the mechanical components and structures of Skywheel would be custom-built, to construct a solid holding ground,” said Seth. The Skywheel’s frontage spans a 60m high definition LED screen visible from hundreds of miles away.
As a relatively new player in this field, the biggest challenge faced by the group was to convince the detractors that they could move forward smoothly despite all the doubts. Since some of the industry watchers are not fully confident in the new development approach championed by M101, as no other developer has attempted it thus far, hence they still have doubts on the ability of M101 to deliver a gargantuan project with such an innovative concept.
“However, I have over the years learnt that while the negative noise can be loud, there are still plenty of investors who believed in our ability. Being persistent in all areas, we will overcome their doubts with our timely delivery of each projects,” proclaimed Seth. Recently, M101 conducted the topping up ceremony for their maiden project M101 Dang Wangi, signifying the completion of the project. The project will be handed over to purchasers by the 2nd quarter of 2017.
EXCEEDING THE EXPECTATION
Despite the current soft market sentiments, M101 are seeing positive growth for their project sales, and the group is confident it will not slowdown anytime. Highly sought after qualities such as the convenient location, brilliant concept, awesome branding, suitable product mix and the right pricing strategy are all apples to the eyes of property investors. “We have intensified roadshows abroad, by selectively targeting foreign buyers who are increasingly seeing better values, more so due to our enfeebled currency currently,” shared Seth.
Thanks to these factors, the group is confident that they will drive international investment into Malaysia. They have brought Skywheel to Indonesia where it was received well, ensued with the signing of a RM100million en bloc sales with 7 top real estate agencies in Indonesia, namely Century21, ERA, Harcourts, LJ Hooker, PROMEX, Ray While and REMAX. The proud moment was witnessed by His Excellency Dato’ Sri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, the ambassador of extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Malaysia to Indonesia.
M101 Skywheel was also successfully launched in China. The event was hosted together with the Bank of China, Shanghai and was graced by His Excellency Mr Tan Yang Thai, Consul General of Consulate General of Malaysia and Mrs Zarian Dilah Judin, the Tourism Consul of Consulate General of Malaysia in Shanghai. In line with M101’s property tourism initiatives, several project developments in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are in pipeline as well. Harping on the proven strategy, they will again collaborate with notable brands such as Studio F.A Porsche, Planet Hollywood and Best Western to excite the market.
Studio F.A. Porsche stands for timeless and unmistakable design, and M101 have collaborated with the best known and most reputable house to design their Skywheel project. It incorporates 3 signature elements being the red meridian stripe, the reflective black glass and the titanium pedestal.Assuredly, the Studio F.A. Porsche design portrays a monumental avant-garde design which would mesmerise the city skyline in time to come.
To ensure an efficient corporate management, M101 boasts a strong and competent team, which is staffed by a highly experienced work force, who made it possible for M101 to attain great success. The company has a couple of project directors that have accumulated over 50 years of experiences in property development, and is also supported by sales directors with over a decade’s experience in property sales. This will surely uplift the achievement of M101 to greater heights.
PRIORITISING THE GRASSROOTS
“I am firm believer in going down to the grassroots to understand what the buyers are looking for, and to capture their imagination by illustrating to them the details of our plans. For instance, about two years ago, when we were planning for the Skywheel project, we were told that such an iconic flagship branded development on top of an MRT station should easily command a 30% premium. Yet to position the project at a pricing scheme that is more favourable to the market, we decided to exclude the 30% premium in accordance to the study by Knight Frank,” explained Seth.
Travelling is one of the ways to be inspired. Seth shared that many of his ideas were gathered during his trips overseas. He also revealed that international initiatives worked well because besides implementing innovative ideas, they also sought the opinions of various local and overseas experts before embarking on a project.
M101 Skywheel is the first project in the world incorporating a Studio F.A. Porsche design. It also features the first Planet Hollywood hotel in Asia, whereby each room and suite features a one-of-a-kind movie memorabilia setting. What’s more, the amazing ferris wheel in the sky, is also the first ferris wheel to be positioned mid-air at the 52nd floor, which the highest vantage point for any ferris wheels in the world. Skywheel will definitely become an international tourist destination upon completion, with food and beverage outlets occupying 2 floors, sky retails occupying 5 floors and 12 floors assigned to parking. The MRT station beneath it will make it easier for tourists to visit it!
This Skywheel project will usher in a modern metropolitan lifestyle anchored in various urban conveniences, which M101 plans to achieve via destination retail with a combination of components such as hotels, commercial units, retail outlets and more, but M101 is already eyeing for greater goals. On the other hand, Seth opined that the rental yield for M101 Dang Wangi’s Sofo units is approximately 4.5-5%, but they are cautiously optimistic of the market volatility. “There is still a strong demand in property, especially those that offer reasonable yield and appreciation,” shared Seth.
M101 is on the right track to achieve their mission of completing 10 projects within 10 years, creating a new platform for property tourism with developments worth more than RM4 billion in terms of GDV. Revealing the future plans of M101, Seth said, “We will evaluate each opportunity on project by project basis, to ensure that it is in line with our business strategies. We are also happy to undertake joint venture opportunities with interested parties.”
Seth emphasised that brand concepts are very important in enhancing the appeal of projects, and uses different colour schemes to differentiate the concepts. For instance, the prime developments in downtown will carry the black and gold colour themes, while townships located on the suburbs will carry a green colour scheme. Considering that various thematic townships are mushrooming in suburbs such as Rawang and Semenyih, M101 is eager to refresh people’s perception on suburban townships, since they believe in offering attractive choices for the community.
As for now, M101 is concentrating on their 3rd project, the M101 Skywheel. Recently, they have also launched the roadshows in Shanghai, China and Palembang, Indonesia, to introduce this iconic flagship project to the investors there.
While wealth accumulation is the goal of all investors, everyone might deploy different strategies to achieve the goal. On this, Seth reiterates that his top tips for property investment is to look out for projects with sound fundamentals, including right branding, right location and a right pricing.
M101 has continuous effort to portray as the nation’s superior property tourism developer.
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