TOKYO • Singapore real estate firm CapitaLand said it is poised to grow its Japan portfolio to at least $3 billion by the end of this year, up from $2.5 billion now.
This will include an upcoming serviced residence venture with Takashimaya in Osaka's Namba district that is popular for shopping and leisure, chairman Ng Kee Choe said yesterday.
He was addressing 200 partners and business associates at the grand opening of the 130-unit Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo property, with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as guest of honour.
Ascott is CapitaLand's serviced residence arm. The new property is located in the Otemachi business district and is a stone's throw from the Ginza shopping hot spot.
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"Our expanding presence attests to our confidence in the long-term prospects in Japan," Mr Ng said, citing its stable political environment, stock of quality assets and economic growth potential.
Mr Goh said Japan's most prized tourism assets are its brand of hospitality and high service standards.
"I've seen your cherry blossoms, gone up Mount Fuji, been to your onsens (hot springs)," he said.
"But what brings me back to Japan again and again is the culture, courtesy, graciousness of the people, your hospitality, your services."
This was something Singapore would do well to learn from, Mr Goh added.
CapitaLand's $2.5 billion in assets under management in Japan comprises five shopping malls, four office buildings and 23 serviced residences and rental apartment properties across 11 cities.
The company sees potential to grow this figure to $5 billion in the near future.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, CapitaLand president and group chief executive officer, told reporters later that despite Japan's grim demographic projections, there is still potential in major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.
And while growth may be relatively slower in developed markets like Japan than in emerging markets, said Mr Lim, "things are a lot more transparent, you can get things done and there's a certainty about the title and the ownership".