Happy New Year to everyone!
2012 was indeed a fruitful year for CapitaLand. A key milestone was the signing of the deal to develop a prime site for a landmark mixed development in Chongqing. The development, Raffles City Chongqing, is our eighth Raffles City in China and one of our biggest investments. During the year, we also launched Raffles City Chengdu and Raffles City Ningbo and started work for Raffles City Shenzhen and Raffles City Chongqing. Given China’s sound economic fundamentals and the continued economic reforms being undertaken, I am confident that our investment will bear fruits for us in the years to come.
In Singapore, we have broken new frontiers in mall concept with the opening of four new shopping malls: JCube, Bugis+, The Star Vista, and the enlarged Plaza Singapura. We have also successfully bidded for a residential site at Bishan which will complement Sky Habitat in terms of unit mix and size, and started work for CapitaGreen, a grade A office tower on target for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Construction work has also started for our new office CapitaHub at Westgate Tower. I look forward to having all the Singapore staff under one roof in 2015.
Globally, Ascott added about 3,000 apartment units and continued to ride on the success of its upgrading programme. It also acquired The Cavendish London which will be transformed into a luxurious serviced residence. All these efforts will significantly strengthen Ascott’s competitive position.
On a personal front, joining CapitaLand was one of my best decisions 16 years ago. I have been extremely privileged in being able to work for the Group and with Mr Liew. Mr Liew has been an inspiring leader and a mentor to me, as well as to the management team and many of our staff. Together, we have worked hard and taken calculated risks where necessary, to build CapitaLand Group to what it is today. The Group, with nine listed entities, has S$63 billion worth of assets under management. Our core markets of Singapore and China have grown significantly and they account for about 70% of both our total assets and EBIT. Our serviced residences and shopping malls network are in more than 110 cities in over 20 countries.
We have achieved much in the first 12 years of CapitaLand. However, economic cycles are getting shorter and more volatile. Moving ahead, we will need to make strategic adjustments in the way we do business to remain competitive and relevant to the markets. Our customers are becoming more sophisticated, and many of our competitors have either caught up with us or are fast catching up. We need to be more nimble to respond to these challenges. I will share more about what we can do in our first staff communication session which is coming soon. Over the next few months, I will also be working closely with many of you to chart the course for CapitaLand of the Future.
While change may be the only constant, there are some things that do not change - CapitaDNA - our core values and principles. We will continue to uphold and stay true to our credo of "Building People". CapitaLand’s many successes would not be possible without the contributions, hard work, commitment and sacrifices of the many people in CapitaLand. I look forward to be able to build on the idea of “Building People”. This will be central to the success of CapitaLand of the Future.
As the newly appointed President & CEO of CapitaLand, I would like to thank the Board, management team and staff for the support and encouragement given to me. While there are many challenges and uncertainties ahead, I am confident of our journey together in building a sustainable and strong CapitaLand.
China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, mentioned recently a quote from Deng Xiao Ping when visiting an exhibition on the rise of China. The quote is '空谈误国, 实干兴邦' (kōng tán wù guó, shí gàn xīng bāng), which means ‘empty talk endangers the nation, hard work brings prosperity’. This is a pragmatic approach that the Chinese new leadership is taking in building China. This is also an approach that I personally believe in. We should aim high but remain pragmatic and grounded in realities.
I look forward to working together with you towards building a great CapitaLand! Have a great 2013!
Lim Ming Yan
CapitaLand Group President & CEO
1 January 2013