Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore choice spots in Asia for finance: Colliers report

The Business Times - Nov 21
Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore are the top three locations in Asia for finance, according to a report by Colliers International.

The report is based on a comprehensive study of 16 cities in developed and emerging markets across Asia, looking at nearly 60 criteria covering areas such as socio-economic factors and property.

With a score of 61 per cent, Hong Kong was in pole position, scoring highly on socio-economic factors, including employment criteria such as political stability, ease of doing business and regulatory governance, and wealth factors such as stock market value, city inward FDI (foreign direct investment) and position in cross-border banking.

Tricia Song, Head of Research: 
Singapore, a global financial centre remains an attractive regional base for many financial institutions owing to its stable political and economic environment, pro-business policies, active capital market, and robust regulatory framework. The financial services sector continues to play an important role in the growth of Singapore and the region, be it in corporate finance, trade facilitation or infrastructure financing. We believe the outlook for the sector in Asia remains bright, driven by rapid urbanisation and a growing middle class.

Andrew Haskins, Asia Head of Research:
Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of socio-economic, property and human factors, Colliers believes the three top locations in Asia for financial occupiers are Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. At #4, Shanghai is benefiting the most among Chinese cities from the country’s financial liberalisation, while Seoul at #5 is a wild card finance location with strong scores. Click here for the Top Locations in Asia: Finance report.

Ant Financial plans to open Singapore research centre by March, hire up to 200 engineers to boost SE Asia presence

Yahoo Finance - Nov 21
Ant Financial, the Chinese online payment firm formerly known as Alipay, plans to open a fintech research centre in Singapore by the end of March.

It will be the first so-called “Damo” research centre in Asia outside of China, the US and Israel, Geoff Jiang, vice president and general manager of Technology and Business Innovation Group at Ant Financial, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Singapore in Singapore.

The Singapore research centre is part of Alibaba Group’s pledge in 2017 to invest $15 billion over the three years into research and development including the creation of “DAMO Academy”, which stands for the “Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook”. The research areas will cover data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction.

Tricia Song, Head of Research:
This news reinforces our findings in the “Top Locations in Asia (Technology)” report that Singapore comes second in Asia as a top technology centre. We also highlight in our “Top Locations in Asia (Finance)” report that FinTech is a key ingredient in Singapore’s Smart Financial Centre plan to devise new financial services and products. In addition, Ant Financial plans to increase its workforce in Singapore as part of its expansion plans to boost its presence in Southeast Asia, again reinforcing the role of Singapore as a conduit for major MNCs into Southeast Asia (SEA), as they leverage on the fast-growing SEA economies.

GuocoLand's Beach Road integrated project adds to area's revamp

The Business Times - Nov 26
GuocoLand announced on Sunday the groundbreaking of its integrated project on Beach Road - a project which, when completed in mid-2022, will add to the rejuvenation of the nearly two-kilometre stretch of road.

Guoco Midtown will comprise 770,000 sq ft of premium Grade A office space designed for new economy companies; 30,000 sq ft of retail and entertainment to draw "novel concepts"; more than 200 residential units; and the former Beach Road Police Station, a conserved building. There will also be green public spaces where events and festivals can be held.

GuocoLand hopes that Guoco Midtown will be a landmark development for the Beach Road area along the lines of its other recent integrated project, Guoco Tower at Tanjong Pagar.

Tricia Song, Head of Research:
If Guoco Tower’s leading example in Shenton Way/Tanjong Pagar submarket is anything to go by, we could see an uplift of the image of Bugis/ Beach Road submarket with Guoco Midtown, accentuating the critical mass of world class office infrastructure already in the locality. Flanked by South Beach and Duo Tower, which were completed in 2015 and 2016 respectively, on each end of the Beach Road, Guoco Midtown would add further clout to the area. We expect a potential uplift in rental values for Grade A office space by 2022, while property values should see a similar uplift, likely a quarter to one year ahead as investors price in a rental upcycle. Click here for more office market trends from our Q3 Office Quarterly report.