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Raffles Cities abroad help to extend S’pore brand: MM Lee

CapitaLand blazes a trail for local firms by exporting mall concept overseas

RAFFLES City has become a landmark since it opened two decades ago, and CapitaLand’s efforts to take the concept overseas has extended Singapore’s global footprint, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last night.

He told a ceremony marking the building’s 21st anniversary that the site had special memories. ‘This was where Raffles Institution stood for more than a century before Raffles City. I was a student here for four years from 1936 to 1939. We demolished several old, brick two-storey buildings of considerable historical value.’

The complex – comprising a mall, two five-star hotels and a premium office tower – that was built transformed the landscape in the very heart of the city and was the largest development project in Singapore at the time.

‘Raffles City has added to the unique Singapore brand and gained international recognition for itself and Singapore,’ said Mr Lee, adding that it attracted many tourists and business travellers daily.

But with developer CapitaLand exporting the Raffles City concept to cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Manama in Bahrain, it was also blazing a trail for other Singapore firms, he said. ‘Reflecting the excellence associated with the Singapore brand, Raffles City Shanghai recently won the accolade of being one of the best buildings in China.’

Other ‘made in Singapore’ retailers have also joined Raffles City overseas, with familiar names such as BreadTalk and Bee Cheng Hiang featuring in the malls.

‘With more Raffles City developments, together with their Singapore retailer tenants established in key cities around the world, they can, over time, become another marketing icon for Singapore,’ said Mr Lee.

CapitaLand plans to increase the number of Raffles City projects to 10 and a number of major cities have already expressed interest. It also unveiled a new logo for the Raffles City brand, which is similar to the developer’s own logo.

CapitaLand president and chief executive officer Liew Mun Leong said yesterday the logo would help expansion.

‘Now that we have achieved the critical mass of five Raffles Cities, it’s high time we consolidate the image,’ he said.

Mr Liew added he expected gains in private home prices to slow in the fourth quarter.

Third-quarter prices rose by 8 per cent to a 10-year high but the increase slowed for the first time since prices began to rise two years ago. ‘The momentum will be there but may not be as fast. It will not be fast growth but there will still be growth,’ said Mr Liew.

 

Source: The Straits Times 3 Oct 07

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