PM Lee opens Mapletree tower in Ho Chi Minh City

PM Lee opens new Mapletree Business Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.ST VIDEO: JOANNA SEOW
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visiting SC VivoCity shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon South Place Complex yesterday. The complex, developed by Mapletree Investments, includes a new 17-storey office tower which was officially opened yesterday
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visiting SC VivoCity shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon South Place Complex yesterday. The complex, developed by Mapletree Investments, includes a new 17-storey office tower which was officially opened yesterday, an Oakwood serviced apartment block and a high-rise apartment block called RichLane Residences.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

The building is owned by Temasek's property arm which views Vietnam as a key market

A new 17-storey office tower owned by the property arm of Temasek Holdings was officially opened yesterday, the company's first office development in Vietnam.

Mapletree Investments, which developed the tower near Ho Chi Minh City's central business district, has plans to build two more office towers in the same precinct.

It gave no further details of its plans, but said it views Vietnam as a key market.

Mapletree owns and manages more than $1.2 billion worth of developments, including the new office tower called Mapletree Business Centre (MBC). It stands in the Saigon South Place Complex, which is also developed by Mapletree.

The sprawling complex in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 includes the SC VivoCity shopping mall, which opened in 2015, an Oakwood serviced apartment block and a high-rise apartment block called RichLane Residences. The two residential blocks are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Mapletree chairman Edmund Cheng said the company has grown its portfolio of properties in Vietnam "in tandem with the expansion of (the country's) economy and pace of urbanisation", since it entered the country more than 12 years ago. "We tapped on our rich experiences in rejuvenating the HarbourFront and Alexandra precincts in Singapore to create a thriving precinct here," he said in his speech at the opening ceremony.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - who is on an official visit to Vietnam and accompanied by Mrs Lee - was the event's guest of honour.

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing and other members of the Singapore team were present too.

Mapletree group chief executive Hiew Yoon Khong said: "Vietnam presents an exciting investment opportunity for us because of its strong economic fundamentals, such as a young and industrious population, a burgeoning middle income group, as well as a stable increase in foreign direct investments."

The MBC is a Grade A office space with a gross floor area of more than 28,300 sq m, and will house multinational corporations from various industries, including IT and banking and finance.

Tenants that have already signed up include Standard Chartered Bank, Vietnamese food manufacturer Uniben, textile company Far Eastern Polytex and IT solutions provider SCC UK.

StanChart chief executive for Vietnam Nirukt Sapru said the bank's office in MBC will be one of its main branches, with about 290 staff.

"Vietnam is square in the middle of our Asean footprint," he said.

Yesterday, Mr Lee also toured the Co.opXtra hypermarket in SC VivoCity, which was set up by NTUC FairPrice and Saigon Co.op.

He had lunch with businessmen based in the city before flying to Hanoi, where he will meet Vietnam's top leaders today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'PM Lee opens Mapletree tower in Ho Chi Minh City'. Print Edition | Subscribe