Balancing Safety, Convenience And Opportunity Hold Key To Resumption Of Mice Events Post-Pandemic

Jerome Kim, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), a Seoul-based non-profit international organization devoted to the research and development of vaccines for delivery to the developing world. © IVI

With the Covid-19 outbreak disrupting travel across the world in the past two years, the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry has put in tremendous efforts to survive the pandemic. As vaccination rates increase and governments begin loosening measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, there are growing expectations for a recovery from this year onwards.

An understanding of the disease control protocols and a consensus among different countries will allow MICE events to return to normal, says Jerome Kim, Director General of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI). Kim has also been appointed as Honorary Ambassador of Korea Tourism to promote the country as a MICE tourism destination, now that international travelers are gradually returning. In an interview, Kim—a medical doctor who is among the world’s most influential vaccine experts—shares his insights on the need to put in place simplified health safety protocols as MICE events resume. He also shares plans on how to make South Korea among the world’s safest MICE destinations.

Variants of Covid-19 continue to emerge, which makes it difficult to predict the end of the pandemic. What is your view as an expert?

We need to vaccinate and give booster shots to raise vaccination levels in the general population above 90%. Removing restrictions after achieving high rates of vaccination is not without risks, but it has to be done in a way that we can understand the interaction between variants, vaccines, and people getting sick.

Dr. Kim delivering an oral cholera vaccine to a child in Ethiopia in 2015. © IVI

In Los Angeles, the number of people getting hospitalized and staying in ICUs has been reduced by 26 times after vaccine booster shot drives were conducted. Anyone who becomes infected should also be closely monitored so that, if needed, medicines that prevent the progression to severe disease and death can also be given. These ‘lines of defense’ allow countries to continue to remain open while reducing the burden of diseases and deaths.

What are the most important projects that IVI is carrying out in response to the pandemic?

IVI’s most important decision came in February 2020 when we decided not to make our own vaccine but to help anyone who requested assistance at any stage of vaccine development (as IVI can work across the value chain). We are working with over 30 companies, organizations, and funders. Importantly, the vaccines we are testing in Phase III clinical trials come from companies that have committed over 1.2 billion doses to COVAX, the global distribution mechanism for low- and middle-income countries.

In-person encounters and exchanges are considered most important in the MICE industry. What do we need to do to return to some semblance of normalcy as soon as possible? 

I was just at a MICE event in Singapore, which is currently experiencing a surge. There was a lot of testing—pre-flight, post flight, and a test on the way back plus rapid antigen testing every day with a picture sent to the organizer and these tests were supported by the organizer. Unless restrictions are simplified, conventions of 100 attendees or greater will become even more complex and costly—simply the testing and reporting requirements are substantial, and it is likely that larger conferences will have attendees traveling at their own risk. The other difficulty was understanding the requirements for entry, the multiple forms, redundant information, etc. You have to have the dedicated app to go into the hotel or visit a hotel restaurant or enter the conference.

If we want MICE events to become more commonplace, we need to come to a better understanding of risks, requirements, and costs. Hopefully there can be agreement on these things between countries as well.

Korea International Travel Expo 2021 minimizes the shortcomings of virtual events by combining in-person meetings and virtual conferences using hologram technology. © Korea Tourism Organization

The MICE industry has taken on a hybrid form, with a mixture of online and offline means of communication. Have you had experience with the hybrid form of MICE? 

The MICE event that I just attended was a hybrid event. The two keynote speakers were on the line from the U.S., but 80% of the speakers and panelists were in Singapore.

There were delays due to testing. Our office was very concerned about the complexity of forms required (though on the day after I landed, Singapore switched to a rapid antigen screen).

The opportunity to interact after the sessions, in the halls or at dinner, reminded everyone of what the virtual meeting deprives us of. However, the rule in Singapore was that (people from different) tables at dinner were not allowed to interact; if they saw anyone table hopping, they would actually go and ask the person to return to their designated table.

Korea has been successful until now in hosting different MICE events, but the requirements for quarantine are a major impediment to large conferences and securing exemptions for a large number of international travelers could pose risks to the host country.

Korea is a MICE hub of Asia. In your understanding, what makes the Korean MICE industry so successful? 

First, it is Korea’s graciousness, technology, and support. The care that the conferences take in making Korean culture a part of symposia and providing hospitality with a Korean flair reinforces the impressions that people are getting now from the K-drama and K-pop craze.

Second, when you are traveling to a conference you want it to work seamlessly—problems (especially now) with on-line speakers, or with Q&A, really detract from the science. The technology here and the people supporting it are terrific.

Which place in Korea do you recommend hosting a MICE event?

I have been to several COEX events over the past two years. They continue to be well organized, and the space is large enough that people are not packed together unsafely. I think Gangnam always offers many things to do, and additionally, it has become famous. I have also been to some nice venues outside of Seoul, for example in Busan or in Yeosu. Actually, the latter may be a little too distant. But, Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, could be a good venue as it is wonderfully diverse and has much more of an “ocean” feel.

As a Korean American, how would you describe the allure of Korea? 

As a fourth generation Korean American, my impressions of Korea come from visits that my family members had in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Korea was poor and still struggling. I have only really known the modern and successful Korea, but it has been really fascinating as a history buff to visit places like the DMZ, or the ancient tombs in Gyeongju, or to stay at a hanok (a traditional Korean house) in Andong. I could spend all day walking around the National Museum or the Gyeongbokgung Palace and museum. I really would like to see Mt. Geumgangsan and Mt. Baekdusan in North Korea, and we have Hwaseong Fortress and Buyeo on the list as well. Finally, I’d like to see Okcheon—I think that is where my grandfather was born.


Finally, please share a message of hope with the MICE professionals around the world who are struggling during the pandemic. 

Reopening will be a reality. But as with everything about this pandemic, we are still figuring out the best way to do it. I think we are starting to see glimmers of hope. I hope to be attending meetings all over the world soon.

Japan’s Economy To Gain Traction In 2022

Like most countries, Japan struggled to find its economic footing in 2021, as it continued to deal with pandemic-related restrictions and prevailing supply chain disruptions around the world.

Despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the world’s third-biggest economy is poised to recover, supported by the 56 trillion yen (US$493 billion) economic stimulus unveiled by newly-elected Japa­nese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Novem­ber. The package will offer cash handouts to families with children under 18, support small businesses and implement measures to off­set rising fuel prices. The country’s largest spending reflects the government’s resolve to boost growth and redistribute wealth to households.

“Growth is on course to regain momen­tum, supported by macroeconomic policies and progress in vaccination,” the Organisa­tion of Economic Cooperation and Develop­ment said in a report in December. “Signifi­cant progress in vaccination and falling rates of infection are now supporting the resump­tion of stronger consumption growth and lifting investment, as supply chain disrup­tions are resolved. A new economic policy package will boost activity.”

While the Japanese economy is expected to accelerate its expansion in fiscal 2022 to 3.4%, corporate leaders must remain vigi­lant amid the lingering impact of Covid-19. The nation’s corporate CEOs will have to remain steadfast and be prepared for the unexpected, Yuzaburo Mogi, Chairman and Honorary CEO of Kikkoman Corporation, says. CEOs need to be forward-looking and be able to anticipate what lies ahead and act decisively, he adds.

Guided by this philosophy, Mogi has spearheaded Kikkoman’s overseas expan­sion since the 1970s. Today, the company’s main soy sauce product is enjoyed in over 100 countries, with around 75% of the group’s profits coming from its international business.

As supply chains normalize, Japanese firms are also looking to tap the growing demand for electronics devices and components. One company that’s emerging stronger from the pandemic-induced slump is THK Co., Ltd.—a supplier of industrial machinery, robotics and automation solutions.

THK is benefitting from robust electronics demand driven by advances in automation and robotics, and a boom in the automo­tive industry as the switch towards electric vehicles gains pace. The firm aims to leverage digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and robotics, to boost the efficiency of its manufacturing processes over the next three years.

The strong rebound in the electronics and automotive sectors also bodes well for Alps Alpine Co., a Japanese manufacturer of sen­sors, touchpads and switches. With a mission to “perfect the art of electronics,” the group’s global network of 100 companies supply components and devices to the automotive, infotainment, and related logistics services industries.

Japan’s economic resurgence in the com­ing years will be underpinned by its inherent strengths and the resilience and innovation of its dynamic companies. The long-term outlook for the Land of the Rising Sun is look­ing brighter than ever.

How Social Entrepreneurs Are Repurposing Capitalism To Tackle Global Issues

Dian Kurniawati was overwhelmed by anguish every time she visited the shores of her hometown in Java, Indonesia. The waves rushing up to her feet would leave behind plastic bags—a dismal reminder of the impact of human activity on nature, which moved her to address the problem of plastic waste. She founded Tridi Oasis, a venture that turns plastic waste into multiple opportunities.

The company gives a second life to non-biodegradable material. It collects discarded PET bottles and processes the waste into high-quality plastic flakes, which are then used for the manufacture of packaging materials and textiles. The business has created many jobs, especially for those in the informal sector who were the worst hit by the pandemic. “In the long-term, I want Tridi Oasis to turn trash into jobs and useful products,”says Kurniawati.

Canopy Power, founded by Sujay Malve, is another company working towards a cleaner environment. Growing up in India, Malve experienced what it’s like to live with frequent power outages. It inspired him to find an alternative source of electricity using solar energy—a solution that achieves substantial cost savings by cutting diesel fuel usage, while decreasing pollution and CO2 emissions. The firm aims to empower people to move away from fossil fuels and use more reliable and renewable electricity supply. The microgrid and engineering services company is solving the problem of energy access and security for businesses and communities across several remote islands in the Asia Pacific.

Tridi Oasis and Canopy Power are among the many new age enterprises that are leveraging cutting-edge technology to develop innovative solutions that deliver not only commercial success, but also create a positive social impact. Other examples include ATEC which enables universal access to safe and clean cooking, and agritech ventures Listenfield which provides an application programming interface to help produce better quality crops with sustainable agricultural practices.

Unreasonable Impact

A common thread across these enterprises is Unreasonable Impact, a partnership between Barclays and Unreasonable that offers a global accelerator programme to empower mission-driven businesses to create scalable and lasting changes. Jaideep Khanna, Head of Asia Pacific at Barclays, says “Through Unreasonable Impact, we support some of the fastest-growing ventures to help scale up entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, and help profit and purpose co-exist.”

The programme is run in cohorts across the Asia Pacific, the Americas, and the U.K. and Europe. It provides resources, mentorship, and a global support network to entrepreneurs working on resolving pressing global problems profitably while sparking innovation and creating jobs.

Daniel Epstein, Founder and CEO, Unreasonable, established the company with the mission to re-purpose capitalism. He believes that entrepreneurs are shaping the future of food, energy and sustainability and that innovative ideas from small- and medium-sized businesses are key to making lasting changes. “Sometimes we need to have unreasonable goals to change the world,” says Epstein.

Changing the World One Venture at a Time

The programme is based on the belief that the power of the collective will make a lasting impact. “Business is about people, partnerships and profitable solutions, and we have to be on the side of the entrepreneurs who take on these mammoth challenges, improve social outcomes, and generate profits for shareholders,” says Lars Aagaard, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions and Financial Sponsors for the Asia Pacific at Barclays.


Unreasonable Impact fellows do not believe in settling with the status quo. Instead, they are motivated to shape progress in the right direction and design profitable solutions to create a sustainable and equitable future. These entrepreneurs can make a dent in employment trends and lead the path towards sustainability, while also innovating across sectors such as food, agriculture, and manufacturing.

“At the forefront of innovation in their respective sectors, we continue to be inspired by each entrepreneur as they challenge the status quo with their impactful solutions,” commented Alexander Harrison, COO APAC & Country CEO, Singapore, Barclays.


All images were taken before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Timeless Luxury That Looks And Sounds Great

The occasional luxury item is often very comforting and enjoyable, but everyone has a different idea of what luxury means. Some people enjoy drinking vintage champagne or whisky while listening to exquisite music. Others may choose to splurge on a lavish vacation or an exceptional timepiece.

Though the luxury market has been around for centuries, the relationship between luxury and investment did not emerge until the 18th century. That’s when households began to purchase high-value goods, such as art and timepieces, according to Dr Seán Williams, a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures. People began to consider luxury an economic and social asset during the period of European Enlightenment (with a particular emphasis on France) from the 17th to 18th centuries.

Nowadays, luxury is associated with authenticity, substance, and sustainability, principles embraced by haute couture brands like Bang & Olufsen and Richard Mille to a significant degree. These marques have created a powerful digital presence while attracting consumers through their aesthetic, luxurious, and environment-friendly products.

Bang & Olufsen, for instance, understands how music can bring people together, not only as entertainment but also as a source of passion and happiness. Its latest wirelessly connected speakers, such as the Beoplay A9 Fourth Generation and Beolab 28, combine noble finishes of oak or walnut, and sleek materials, such as aluminum and Kvadrat fabric, representing the future of home audio.

Looking like minimalist pieces of art, these speakers are easily upgradeable, repairable, and exchangeable. A touchscreen or smartphone allows audiophiles to stream their favorite music, and seamlessly connect to other speakers, televisions and digital apps.

Luxury transcends from high-performance music to high-performance timepieces. Richard Mille’s unapologetically bold watches are hailed as the ultimate expression of excellence, thanks to complex horological innovations, exceptional engineering, and hi-tech applications. Since its launch 20 years ago, the demand for the Swiss watchmaker’s timepieces consistently outstrips production.

As investment-worthy as its other premium timepieces, the new RM 72-01 Automatic Winding Lifestyle Flyback Chronograph and RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph herald new heights in haute horology. The former displays the company’s first proprietary flyback chronograph that took 30 months to complete, while the latter is the most complex timepiece ever created in its fabled Les Breuleux, Switzerland workshops.

It is easy to acknowledge such extraordinary achievements when you know you can count on being presented with the best-ever creations of sound and time that are as amazing and inspiring as they are exciting.

One Bangkok: Breaking New Ground In Thailand

As Thailand’s largest private-sector property development, One Bangkok is poised to break new ground in design, smart-city living and sustainability. When completed, the integrated district will become a global landmark, attracting leading businesses, tourists and locals by seamlessly connecting offices, retail, luxury hotels and residences as well as cultural and social spaces. 

A joint venture between TCC Assets Co., Ltd. and Frasers Property Holdings (Thailand) Co., Ltd., the THB 120 billion (US$4 billion) project’s rich mix of uses will ensure the district is buzzing with energy around the clock. The development is expected to open in 2023, with full completion slated for 2026.

“One Bangkok will reshape and redefine Bangkok’s urban landscape in a positive and lasting way as the largest private sector property development initiative undertaken in Thailand,” says Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group CEO, Frasers Property Limited.

One Bangkok—Thailand’s largest private real estate development

One Bangkok’s masterplan proposes a set of four diverse precincts centered around a 10,000-square-meter, landscaped civic plaza. These precincts are connected on multiple levels, and each includes a retail and lifestyle element at lower levels to create a vibrant streetscape, with towers for working and living rising above. The integrated development will be easily accessible as it is directly connected to Bangkok’s MRT train network.

Five Concepts in One

With a combined office net lettable area of almost 500,000 square meters, One Bangkok is able to house more than 500 local and international organizations at what will be the city’s most prestigious corporate address.

Leading brands, meanwhile, will have a new and exciting platform to engage their customers with fresh concepts and spaces across four connected retail precincts, which will encompass about 450 stores over 180,000 square meters. 

All towers at One Bangkok are designed to maximize views of Lumphini Park.

With five hotels, One Bangkok will also cater to all tastes of travelers, whether they are seeking a luxury experience or a boutique offering. The first luxury hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangkok is scheduled to open in 2023.

Those seeking the finest residences in Bangkok, meanwhile, will have their pick of three luxury residential towers located at the north end of the district, offering unprecedented views of Lumphini Park and the city beyond. The first residence, located atop The Ritz-Carlton, Bangkok on levels 26-49, will comprise just 110 ultra-luxury units of two to four bedrooms that will launch in early 2020.

Crowning the sprawling One Bangkok integrated development will be the 430-meter Signature Tower, which will feature office spaces and a super luxury hotel. Set to become one of ASEAN’s 10 tallest buildings when completed, the Signature Tower will offer visitors panoramic views of the city and become a stunning addition to the city’s skyline. One Bangkok will also be a hub of culture, featuring public art and learning spaces as well as performing arts events and concerts all year round. 

Says Sirivadhanabhakdi, “We believe One Bangkok is an offering worthy of what Thailand’s capital can deliver on the world stage, and our goal is to see the country become the very epicenter of ASEAN.”

For more information, please visit:


Looking For Gems In The Global Real Estate Market

Developers continue to redefine the Singapore city skyline.

Despite global economic headwinds, there is value to be found in Asia’s real estate sector if one knows where to look.

In terms of individual markets, Singapore’s residential market continues to be a safe haven for foreign buyers seeking not just profits, but also capital preservation. Looking to capitalize on this trend, developers are rolling out ultraluxury developments that cater to the region’s wealthy in some of Singapore’s most prestigious neighborhoods.

For instance, the upcoming 3 Orchard By-The-Park is a short stroll away from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Singapore Botanic Gardens, while luxury boutiques, five-star hotels, embassies and Michelin-starred eateries of the premier Orchard Road belt are just minutes away. Launched by the YTL Group, the development features the signature touch of world-renowned architect Antonio Citterio.

Meanwhile, Frasers Property is offering homebuyers a rare riverfront living experience along the historical Singapore River. When completed, the Rivière will form part of a highly attractive cluster of waterfront developments as well as food and beverage and lifestyle outlets.

Innovative players such as Guocoland are transforming the city-state’s central business district. The developer is behind iconic properties such as Singapore’s tallest building, Guoco Tower, a unique 5-in-1 integrated development located in the heart of the CBD.

Reflecting their global ambitions, Singapore’s real estate developers are extending their footprint abroad as well. For instance, Pontiac Land Group is part of the development team behind the upcoming 53 West 53 skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The 82-story building is designed by famed French architect Jean Nouvel.

Malaysia is also well-positioned for growth. The residential property market in the country recorded a higher value of transactions in the first nine months of the year for the primary market compared with the whole of 2018, according to international real estate federation FIABCI. Malaysia’s National Housing Policy 2.0, which was launched by the Housing and Local Government Ministry at the start of the year, has helped address affordability issues and boost demand in the housing market.

One company that has capitalized on this potential is UEM Sunrise Berhad, a leading property developer in Malaysia. UEM Sunrise has posted an uptick in revenue over the past few years and appears to be on track for another year of growth in 2019.

In the face of an uncertain and evolving landscape, there are bright spots to be found in the region’s real estate market for discerning buyers with an eye for value and quality.

Welcoming The World

The buzzing metropolises that have sprung from the deserts of the Gulf in a matter of decades have today become global hubs of innovation and investment. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the U.A.E. and Qatar now count among the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. And as governments and private sector players continue to plough money into the startups, infrastructure and new technologies that are set to further boost economies and change the world, the Middle East is determined to be a leader, not a follower, when it comes to the future of business and finance.

As youthful populations continue to grow, so does business for the wise investor and enterprising entrepreneur. Looking at recent data, the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remain poised for growth in the coming years. MENA bagged foreign direct investment (FDI) of about US$32 billion in 2018, with the U.A.E. attracting the largest amount of FDI at US$10.4 billion, followed by Egypt at US$6.8 billion, and Oman at US$6.3 billion.

Real GDP in the region is expected to grow at 2.6% in 2020 and 2.9% in 2021, according to the World Bank, with the projected pickup largely driven by increasing infrastructure investment. But where exactly should global investors be looking in this fertile ground?

It’s a place of great change at the moment. Governments in the region have carried out a record number of reforms to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and midsize firms, and the fruits of this are evident as four Arab countries now sit among the world’s top 10 business climate improvers, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 study. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait account for almost half of the region’s reforms. Meanwhile, the U.A.E. remains the strongest performer overall in the World Bank’s ranking.

With MENA home to millions of long- and short-term working expats, a couple of the Gulf countries have also started to offer new residency visa options for the first time to encourage and reward long-term investment in their countries. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced a new system that offers two types of visas: a permanent (premium) residency with a one-time fee of US$213,000 and a renewable one-year residency for an annual fee of US$26,700. The U.A.E. also made major changes to its visa system in May, including a new “Golden Card” system to grant permanent residency to investors and doctors, engineers, scientists and artists, as well as a long-term visa of up to 10 years and five-year retirement visas for residents that fulfil certain financial security criteria. This sends a powerful message in economies that have long been thought of as transient for workers.

The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are also preparing to host two major global events next year: Expo 2020 in Dubai and the G20 summit in Riyadh.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

According to a report by PwC, the Expo—which opens on October 20 and runs for nearly six months—will have a significant economic impact for Dubai, which is expected to be the second-most visited city in the world in 2020 and 2021. The emirate is already the fourth most-visited city globally, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, hosting 15.9 million tourists in 2018.

In November 2020, Saudi Arabia will hold the G20 Summit, with participant countries accounting for more than 80% of global GDP. The kingdom also has its own mega-investments in the works, with the planned smart city of NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia at the forefront. The project stretches over three countries with territory from Egypt and Jordan comprising a total area of 26,500 kilometers. NEOM will be backed by more than US$500 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia as well as from local and international investors. Its contribution to the kingdom’s GDP is projected to reach at least US$100 billion by 2030.

This is just a snapshot of the business and infrastructure development currently underway in MENA. And as money continues to flow, the region has witnessed a sizeable improvement in IPO activity, both in terms of volume and value, in the second half of 2019. Six IPOs raised proceeds of US$2.8 billion, compared with a single IPO that raised US$57.6 million in the first half of the year, according to EY.

With net proceeds reaching about US$1 billion, Saudi Arabia led the IPO activity in the region, which was fueled by three listings on the main market, including the Arabian Centres Company that raised US$658.7 million. The Gulf country is also preparing to kick off what is expected to be the world’s largest-ever IPO for Saudi Aramco, the world’s leading producer of crude oil and condensate, which generated US$163.9 billion in revenue in the first half of 2019.

Looking to North Africa, Egypt also is working on an IPO program that will see multiple state-owned companies listed on stock exchanges locally and potentially abroad. This year, the country launched its first sovereign wealth fund. The US$12.4 billion fund aims to ensure the best use of Egypt’s wealth and natural resources.

Despite a big drive in the region to diversify economies, the oil and gas sector continues to grab significant investments, with new discoveries coming to light. Recently, BlackRock and KKR acquired a 40% stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company oil pipelines for US$4 billion, while the Carlyle Group acquired a 30% to 40% stake in Cepsa, which is wholly owned by the U.A.E.’s Mubadala Investment Company, for US$3.4 billion. Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni recently announced new discoveries in Egypt, including new resources in the Abu Rudeis Sidri development lease in the Gulf of Suez. In August, it also announced production from the Zohr field—the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea—had reached more than 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.

Aside from the established big names, MENA economies are also getting a boost from widespread entrepreneurial activity. The startup scene is consistently gaining traction, with US$517 million invested in 354 deals during the first nine months of 2019, according to a report from startup data platform MAGNiTT. The U.A.E. continues to be the main hub for startups, grabbing 62% of the total funding, while Egypt accounted for 27% of deals during the same period. The region witnessed its largest-ever technology transaction in March 2019, when Uber acquired its Middle Eastern rival Careem for US$3.1 billion.

Investors are racing to fuel growth, and countries have welcomed new funds. Last February, Dubai-based Middle East Venture Partners raised an additional US$65 million for its third regional fund, the Middle East Venture Fund III. BECO Capital also closed its second fund with US$100 million in October. And most recently, Mubadala Capital—the financial investment arm of Mubadala—announced new tech funds with assets of about $250 million for MENA.

Overall, despite global headwinds and regional challenges, the Middle East’s economies are looking strong for the future, and investors should keep their eyes on this resilient and visionary meeting point between East and West.

Indonesia: Sustainable Success

Having won a second term in office, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his new government will be looking to continue their mission to develop the country’s infrastructure and attract foreign investment. Jakarta announced a US$400 billion infrastructure plan following President Widodo’s re-election, including more than two dozen new airports and power plants, aimed at boosting economic growth.

Both large conglomerates and newer emerging firms are looking to capitalize on Indonesia’s continued economic growth, even as they seek to contribute back to society.

One company that has grown along with Indonesia is Astra Group. Since its founding more than 60 years ago, the leading diversified conglomerate has been committed to prospering with Indonesia, a journey that it continues on to this day. In order to realize this vision, the group has been working to promote sustainable growth in Indonesia that balances economic priorities with social and environmental concerns.

In the consumer sector, Indonesian companies have benefited from the growing ranks of middle-class consumers with higher purchasing power. One such success story is PT Nippon Indosari Corpindo Tbk, the leading bread company in the country that owns the top-selling brand Sari Roti. With an overwhelming 90% market share in Indonesia’s mass production of bread, the company is now looking to replicate its recipe for success in overseas markets such as the Philippines.

Retailers have also cashed in on the rising number of shoppers with fatter wallets. Alfamart has expanded over the past 20 years to become one of the largest minimarket chains in Indonesia, serving over 4.1 million customers every day.  Meanwhile, Kawan Lama Group grew from a single kiosk in 1955 to become a billion-dollar retail giant today boasting market-leading brands such as Ace Hardware.

Indonesia’s fast-growing technology scene is another bright spot in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Indonesians are among the world’s biggest users of Facebook and Twitter, and a global leader in digital applications such as ride hailing and e-commerce. In 2018, the country’s digital economy had an estimated value of US$27 billion, and is expected to grow further on the back of government incentives including tax breaks.

Unsurprisingly, Indonesia’s startup scene is one of the most dynamic in Asia. During President Widodo’s first term, Indonesia saw the emergence of four startups, each with a value of more than US$1 billion, including ride-hailing service Gojek and online store Tokopedia.

With an aim to support the country’s newest entrepreneurs, Alpha JWC established itself as a leading venture capitalist in Indonesia in less than four years. With one of the largest VC teams in the country, Alpha JWC has a deep understanding of local market conditions.

Amid the country’s growing prosperity, Indonesia’s financial services sector is also stepping up to help manage the growing wealth of its people. For instance, Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s largest financial institution, has been a leading player in managing and growing the assets of Indonesia’s affluent.

As uncertainty persists in the global economy, these and other dynamic Indonesian businesses will continue to prosper on the back of resilient and sustainable business models that have successfully delivered superior value.

Luxury Living On The River Of Kings

ICONSIAM Superlux Residence is proud to announce the launch of The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. This project marks the hotel group’s seventh residence project worldwide and its first in Southeast Asia. The newly unveiled project offers unparalleled luxury accommodation coupled with the renowned style, service and excellence for which Mandarin Oriental is known.

With the opening of The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, located diagonally across the Chao Phraya River from the hotel, you can enjoy a more permanent stay under this iconic brand. As the most recent addition to the innovative ICONSIAM megacomplex—a new landmark addition to Thailand’s capital, which plays host to The Residences— Magnolia Development Corporation provides everything required for a new standard of luxury living realized through its pioneering vision.

A Harmony of Modern and Traditional

The Residences are comprised of 146 exclusive units and amenities across 52 floors, designed by renowned Joyce Wang Studio, which has put its unique stamp on landmark luxury hotels, residences and restaurants in major cities, including Las Vegas, Vancouver, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This latest project, the studio’s first in Bangkok, secured the South East Asia Property Awards 2016 for best residential interior design.

The building itself—one of the tallest in the city—with its grand entrance and lobby, was inspired by traditional Bangkok architecture as well as the form of the Chao Phraya River, which teems with traditional and modern life beside the Residences. Great attention to detail has been paid throughout the property, with top-quality wood, stone and metal structures designed and built in concert with space and light.

The lavishly designed structure is tastefully decorated with selected antiques, custom artworks and the finest local artisanal crafts, all handpicked to blend harmoniously with the building’s architectural style.

Much more than an architectural and artistic showpiece, the Residences were carefully conceived to foster a sense of community with social spaces and other beautiful communal areas open to all residents, including more than 1,600 square meters of gardens.

It all starts on the ground floor, with the impressive Grand Residential Lobby, the Chao Phraya Lounge (also available for private functions) and the Mandarin Gallery lounge area.

The 4th and 5th floors are dedicated to the River Clubhouse facilities, featuring the River Terrace with an outdoor lawn area and sunbathing deck, an outdoor infinity pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, and barbecue terrace, as well as the Garden Loft dining area and kitchen. For the kids, a children’s pool and an indoor and outdoor playroom are on offer.

Other facilities to keep the family pleasantly engaged include a golf simulator and a game room, as well as a private fitness and wellness studio and a fully equipped gym.

On the 36th floor is the Sky Pavilion, which includes the Oriental Salon, a formal lounge and the Siam Salon function room (also available for private functions).

Luxury Residences to Suit Your Lifestyle

Each freehold condominium unit has been designed to enhance its inhabitants’ lifestyle and privacy. There is a selection of varying dimensions and layouts, all featuring uninterrupted views of the Chao Phraya “River of Kings.” All units are available fully furnished.

The 2-bedroom units range from 128 to 165 square meters, while 3-bedroom units are of 222 to 228 square meters. Both configurations include generously sized bedrooms and central living areas.

Ultra-luxury penthouses range from 385-square-meter residences to two-story, 710-square-meter units, featuring private lifts and spectacularly large living spaces, with ceilings more than three meters high, natural light and incredible views of the river and the Thai capital far below.

A range of amenities are available to residents, such as around-the-clock concierge services provided by trained Mandarin Oriental staff. Owners are invited to join the Residences Elite Programme to enjoy bespoke benefits while at home, and VIP recognition and benefits while staying at any Mandarin Oriental property around the world.

Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the THB54 billion (US$1.8 billion) ICONSIAM megacomplex has broken new ground with its dining, entertainment, leisure, cultural and shopping opportunities.

Since its opening, ICONSIAM has changed perceptions of what constitutes the city center of present-day Bangkok, by bringing vibrant life back to the banks of the river where the city was originally founded. While being easily accessible by road, river and rail, the upcoming gold line monorail link, scheduled to open next year, also offers an alternative route to the location.

The 20-acre site features spectacular water and fire installations along 400 meters of parkland riverfront, where the public can relax and watch the river flow. Here, modern international lifestyle joins hands with Thai tradition. This pioneering 10-story space provides the best the country has to offer, and since its opening late last year has been attracting countless local and international visitors to shop and enjoy Thai culture.

Offerings include movie and live theaters, a full range of international brand shops across 525,000 square meters of retail floor space, an indoor floating market, a mind-boggling selection of local and international cuisine, and the River Museum, a joint venture with the Ministry of Culture’s Fine Arts Department. The enormous complex includes the Magnolia Residences as well as a Hilton hotel.

And now, with The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, the ICONSIAM project is complete; a comprehensive luxury lifestyle is available entirely onsite that caters to residents’ needs and desires.


For more information about
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok,
please visit:

Sales Representative Contact:
Tel: +66 2 012 4555

Frasers Property: Building Multinational Real Estate Platforms

One Bangkok

Over the years, Frasers Property has evolved into a multinational real estate company that owns, develops and manages a diverse, integrated portfolio of properties covering five asset classes and six REITs. Listed on the Singapore Exchange, the group’s S$33.6 billion (US$24.5 billion) in assets range from residential, retail, commercial and business parks, to industrial and logistics in Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe and China. It is also well-established in the hospitality business, where it owns and operates serviced apartments and hotels in over 70 cities.

This year, Frasers Property has focused its efforts on building a resilient and sustainable business, specifically by building up some of its key platforms.

An Integrated Industrial and Logistics Platform

In October, the group formed an integrated industrial and logistics platform, Frasers Property Industrial, combining its industrial and logistics operations in Australia and Europe that represent about S$5.4 billion (US$3.9 billion) in assets under management. Frasers Property Industrial offers modern, sustainable industrial real estate including logistics facilities, warehouses and production facilities in strategic locations across Europe and Australia. The integrated unit is also actively leveraging its strong connection with the group’s operations in Thailand, where Frasers Property Thailand is one of the nation’s largest industrial and logistics operators.

Creating Scale in Thailand

In recent months, Frasers Property Thailand completed its acquisition of 94.5% of shares in Golden Land Property Development Plc. This acquisition is an important milestone in its journey in Thailand as the two leading real estate developers come together to become a leading integrated real estate platform in Thailand, giving Frasers Property a balanced and diversified property portfolio spanning across industrial and logistics, residential, commercial and hospitality.

Frasers Property Holdings Thailand is the development manager for One Bangkok. When completed, One Bangkok is anticipated to be Thailand’s largest fully integrated district, and the group sees it becoming a new global landmark.

The group’s capabilities in mixed-use developments are not limited only to Thailand. In Singapore, its mixed-used development portfolio includes Northpoint City, which is the group’s first suburban mall as well as the largest integrated development in the north of Singapore.

Central Park Sydney

In Sydney, its Central Park development’s iconic and globally award-winning architecture with public green spaces have transformed the city’s downtown since the complex’s launch in 2014.

A Leading Retail Operator in Singapore

Its retail business has also been growing rapidly. A recent move to develop a retail focused platform to realize its aspirations in Singapore demonstrates its intent to build meaningful scale in a fast-evolving local retail landscape. Frasers Property Retail has assets valued at more than S$8 billion (US$5.8 billion), which includes its retail assets across Frasers Property Singapore, its REIT, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, and the group’s strategic investments in PGIM Real Estate AsiaRetail Fund. Its retail properties are located in populous residential areas that enjoy good connectivity to Singapore’s public transportation system, giving its properties a stable footfall and healthy mall occupancy.

“Frasers Property aspires to be a world-class, multinational owner-operator-developer of real estate products in resilient markets and a provider of real estate services, complementary to our investments. As we continue to strengthen our platforms in a rapidly evolving real estate industry, we will seek ways to redefine experiences for our customers,” says Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Frasers Property Limited.