2022 New Year Message: Building A Sustainable Organisation With A Shared Vision
Mr Jason Leow, CEO of CapitaLand Development shares how CapitaLand Development is more than just a real estate developer. It is a trusted partner, creating quality spaces for live, work and play through sustainable and innovative solutions to enrich the community.
Having lived through the COVID-19 pandemic for the second year, we have had to deal with new variants, adapt to shifting social regulations and stay connected with our loved ones. If 2020 was a test of how we respond to a crisis, 2021 has been a test of resilience. As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful and inspired by the determination, selflessness, and hard work I see in every member of the CapitaLand family.
As a company, we have also persevered and successfully completed the restructuring of CapitaLand Limited in September 2021, privatising the development business (CapitaLand Development) and listing the real estate investment management business (CapitaLand Investment) on the Singapore Exchange. Since CapitaLand’s inception in 2000, the company has been at the forefront of shaping the built environment, touching the lives of millions of people every day. With the formation of CapitaLand Development (CLD), we carry on this legacy.
We Are Just Getting Started
The transformative power of real estate is unmistakable. From Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport to Raffles City Chongqing in China, to the numerous quality homes in Vietnam, we have created architectural gems which have captured the world’s attention, iconic developments which herald the coming of age of developing cities in Asia, and treasured abodes for many to nurture the next generation. CLD is more than just a real estate developer. We are a trusted partner, creating quality spaces for live, work and play through sustainable and innovative solutions to enrich the community.
Throughout 2021, we stayed true to this mission and successfully launched several projects for the communities we operate in. In Singapore, CanningHill Piers, with its distinctive design and superb location, became the best-selling residential launch in Singapore’s Central Area in 2021. 538 units (77%) were sold over the launch weekend, generating a total sales value of over S$1.18 billion. In Vietnam, all 88 units of DEFINE, a luxury residential development in Ho Chi Minh City with several first-in-market features, were sold out within two hours.
In China, La Botanica, our residential project in Xi’an also sold very well. Units that were launched for sale in 2021 were sold out within three days at each of the five separate launches, with a total of more than 34,000 buyers balloting for the 1,973 units. Sales for Phase 2 of Città di Mare, a residential project in Guangzhou also performed beyond expectations this year with about 590 units sold.
One of CLD’s key urban development projects, the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City (CSGKC) won the Business China Enterprise (通商中国) Award 2021, recognising the project’s significance in deepening Singapore-China relations. Phase 1 of CSGKC has been completed. The two commercial blocks within OneHub GKC, an integrated business park development comprising business and commercial spaces, and high-end residential and lifestyle amenities, was 100% sold upon launch.
"CLD is more than just a real estate developer. We are a trusted partner."
In the year ahead, we will be diversifying our portfolio across geographies, focusing on growth opportunities and pursuing opportunities to enter new markets. In one of our key markets, Vietnam, efforts are already underway. CLD recently acquired a prime site for our first large scale residential project in Binh Duong, Vietnam. With a projected total gross development value of S$1.12 billion, the 18.9-hectare site is our largest project in Vietnam and will provide homes to about 13,000 residents in the city. It also marks our first expansion outside Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, seizing new opportunities in the fast-growing secondary cities of Vietnam.
We will also increase our investment in the business park and commercial sectors, as well as in new economy assets. In November 2021, CLD and Ascendas Reit announced plans to jointly redevelop 1 Science Park Drive into a life science and innovation campus for S$883 million. The redevelopment will create a world-class hub for R&D and innovation with vibrant work-live-play elements. Expected to be fully completed by 2025, 1 Science Park Drive will cater to demand from tenants in new economy sectors such as the biomedical sciences, technology, as well as digital goods and services.
In December 2021, we also partnered with Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. to invest about S$318 million to develop a business park in China’s Suzhou New District, undertaking the master planning and development of the project. Slated for completion in 2024, the business park will feature multi-tenanted buildings with provisions for R&D activities as well as community and lifestyle amenities amidst a green and sustainable environment, catering to tenants in high-tech new economy sectors.
We must continuously strengthen our capabilities, and augment them with technology and innovative solutions to produce excellence with speed. We also need to remain tenacious in relentlessly building our pipeline of quality projects, especially in our key markets. We will also retain our disciplined approach to capital recycling, redeploying capital into new investments with higher yields.
Embracing The Challenges Ahead
The road ahead will not be easy. To remain a developer of choice, it is not enough for CLD to just be reliable and consistent or be keenly attuned to the needs of our customers. We are known for our deep development expertise, and we must constantly challenge ourselves to do even better.
Climate change, the most critical challenge of our generation, needs to be addressed. According to the United Nations’ 2021 Global Status Report for Building and Construction, the building and construction industry is responsible for 37% of global carbon emissions. CapitaLand started our sustainability journey over 20 years ago and with CapitaLand’s 2030 Sustainability Master Plan, we are further ramping up our efforts. The strategic blueprint outlines ambitious goals to elevate and accelerate our global sustainability efforts. This means we at CLD need to work even harder in transiting to a low-carbon business, being energy and resource efficient, tapping renewable energy sources, using sustainable building materials, reducing construction waste and more.
Life in the new normal will bring new challenges. I have previously shared how the world will have increasing elements of ‘VUCA’ (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). We can expect to encounter some headwinds in the near term. The recent cooling measures announced by the Singapore government as well as the ongoing correction in China’s real estate sector are likely to dampen demand in two of our core markets. However, just like how we have approached COVID-19, we need to embrace and view these challenges as opportunities. I have utmost confidence in our collective capabilities as a team.
"As CLD continues to grow, we aim to make a lasting difference to the communities where we operate. This means creating a social impact beyond the bottom line. By remaining focused on our work, by rallying like-minded partners, customers, and tenants, and through our contributions as active volunteers in the community, we can amplify the positive change we seek to make in the world."
A Clear Purpose Anchored on Core Values
An organisation is more than just a group of people working together. In the past year, many of us have spent more time working apart, yet what continues to bind us together has remained as strong as ever. It is heartening to see our team living CapitaLand’s core values; adapting to the new demands of working from home, going the extra mile to problem solve while still having fun and supporting one another. Our core values: winning mindset, an enterprising attitude, respect and integrity, will continue to be the anchors for the strong and positive culture we are building, and enable us to stay true to our purpose of enriching lives, building communities and growing sustainably.
To sharpen our real estate expertise and extend our competitive advantage, we will continue to grow CLD’s talent pool to make sure we have the best team with the right fit. This also means providing upskilling opportunities for our team members and offering meaningful career pathways for all within the company. While CLD and CapitaLand Investment are two different entities, we remain part of the ONE CapitaLand Ecosystem. The two entities continue to work together to realise synergies for further success.
As CLD continues to grow, we aim to make a lasting difference to the communities where we operate. This means creating a social impact beyond the bottom line. By remaining focused on our work, by rallying like-minded partners, customers, and tenants, and through our contributions as active volunteers in the community, we can amplify the positive change we seek to make in the world. I am confident in our abilities, and you have my word that the senior leadership team and I are fully committed to work alongside you to bring our vision to fruition.
I would like to thank the CapitaLand Board members for their guidance, and every member of our CLD team for your hard work and dedication. Together we have made big strides to take our business forward in 2021. I look forward to your continuing support and contributions in the year ahead.
I wish you and your families good health, joy, abundance, and success in 2022. Happy New Year.
- Jason Leow