Why China is good test bed: CapitaLand

BEIJING • For Singapore real estate titan CapitaLand, two distinctive traits make China a compelling test bed for trying out new technologies.

The sheer number of customers in the world's most populous country means pilot projects will quickly yield a treasure trove of data about their experience which translates into faster iteration and maturation of new ideas, said CapitaLand China chief executive officer Lucas Loh.

One statistic bears out Mr Loh's point. The firm's app-based rewards programme, CapitaStar, has 860,000 members in Singapore, but nearly four million in China.

"The scale we've achieved in China means that, within a short time, we have enough data to prove whether an idea is workable," he said yesterday.

With 190 properties ranging from malls and offices to homes across 52 Chinese cities, new ideas also undergo rigorous and varied testing before they are brought to markets like Singapore.

But it is the people's receptivity to new ways in China that makes possible the kind of large-scale experimentation needed to refine and realise novel ideas.

"The high speed of development in China in recent decades means that the Chinese have a high tolerance for change," Mr Loh said.

 

Yesterday, the firm signed three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Chinese partners to hone its technological edge.

One agreement will see CapitaLand set up more incubators for Singapore companies across China, while another will expand the roll-out of facial recognition technology to more of its properties in China and Singapore. It will also work with China UnionPay to add cashless payments capabilities to CapitaStar.

Lim Yan Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Why China is good test bed: CapitaLand'. Print Edition | Subscribe