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New Launch Asia News Review / Issue 41

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Top News for the Week


US not top destination for rich Hong Kongers looking to emigrate

When things go sideways around the globe, the US has traditionally served as a centre of safety and security, particularly for the world’s wealthy.

The US is already home to more Hong Kongers than any economy outside of China, and recent data has suggested that more are looking to leave. Applications for a key emigration document, the “good citizenship card”, are up 54 per cent in the past year.

But anti-immigrant political rhetoric, high-profile cases of gun violence and impending changes to the “investor visa” programme have encouraged Hong Kong’s would-be emigres to consider other alternatives such as Australia, Canada, Singapore and Taiwan.

Even before the protest movement in Hong Kong began, the US was already losing its lustre. Among them, the most popular destinations were Canada and Australia, with at least 18 per cent of respondents each, followed by Taiwan (11 per cent) and Singapore (5 per cent). The US was the top choice for 2.9 per cent of those considering leaving.

Another concern for some is that “racial discrimination is relatively serious in certain areas”.

Link to the story:



2019’s healthy home sales mask uneven showing for different projects

Developers are heading towards healthy home sales this year, with analysts expecting them to move more than 9,000 private homes, surpassing last year’s figure of 8,795 units.

Beneath the positive headline numbers, though, is a picture of uneven sales performance among residential projects launched in the first nine months of this year, based on The Business Times’ analysis of URA Realis data as of Oct 4.

On the whole, given the high land prices developers paid in the past, most new residential project launches this year have had optimistic per square foot (psf) prices, often at benchmark levels for their respective locales.

This has resulted in either a muted response from buyers, or a seemingly encouraging response in the month of launch, followed by gradual sales thereafter. That said, some developers have managed to achieve decent sales momentum, for instance by offering a spread of smallish units and thus keeping the median absolute prices within the sweet spot of affordability at around the S$1 million mark. This has been especially the case for mass-market condo projects in the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR).

In the city fringe and prime areas, where prices tend to be higher, developers have nevertheless banked on niche factors to pull in buyers.

This highlights the impact of supply-demand dynamics within particular micro-markets on take- up rates for new projects.

A head honcho with a major listed property group said: “All of us are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best, that the market will find its equilibrium. Nobody is in panic mode; most developers’ balance sheets are still strong because we’ve had many good years.”

Pointing to the positive signs on primary-market sales and the official private home price index for Q3 this year, an analyst said: “These factors will be further impetus for new projects to be launched at firm prices, so patchy sales performance could continue.”

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/2019s-healthy-home-sales-mask-uneven-showing-for-different- projects


Dakota Crescent demolition works to begin next year

Parts of the Dakota Crescent estate, built in 1958, will be torn down from the first half of next year.

The Housing Board has called for a tender to tear down blocks 2, 4, 6, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 as well as other ancillary structures at the estate off Old Airport Road.

Hoardings will be erected around the demolition site, and protective netting and catch-fans will be installed on the scaffold around the blocks to minimise falling debris and dust, said the HDB and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in reply to queries from The Straits Times.

Works are scheduled to be completed by the second half of 2021.

Link to the story:



Condo resale prices edge up but sale volumes dip: SRX

Resale prices of non-landed private homes picked up slightly last month after a tepid August but sale volumes dipped, according to data out yesterday.

Overall condominium resale prices rose 0.8 per cent last month from the same month last year. All regions saw price gains: The core central region rose 1.8 per cent followed by the suburbs or outside central region, which was up 0.6 per cent. The city fringes or rest of central region added 0.2 per cent.

Overall resale prices were up 0.2 per cent from August, when values had been flat from July.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/condo-resale-prices-edge-up-but-sale-volumes-dip-srx https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/singapore-condo-resale-prices-edge-up-in-sept-volume-drops-again


Sept condo, HDB rents down from Aug

Rental prices in Singapore fell in September from August for both non-landed private homes and HDB flats, though the rents rose on a year-on-year basis.

Flash data released also indicated that rental volumes fell for private condominiums, but rose for HDB flats on a month-on-month basis.

Overall rents for condos declined 0.4 per cent from August, but grew by 3.2 per cent year on year. In the public housing market, HDB rental prices fell 0.3 per cent from August, and were down 14.8 per cent from its peak in August 2013.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/sept-condo-hdb-rents-down-from-aug https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/condo-hdb-rents-dip-in-september-srx


GCB on sale at same $23m guide price

A good class bungalow (GCB) at Kilburn Estate in District 21 will be put on the market again at an unchanged guide price of $23 million.

This works out to about $1,216 per sq ft, based on a land area of 18,911 sq ft. It is an owner’s sale. A public auction for the bungalow will be held on Oct 16 at 2.30pm at Amara Hotel, Level 3, said marketing agent Knight Frank Singapore.

The two-storey property at 18A Yarwood Avenue is a Balinese-style home with a floor area of 9,095 sq ft. Its 999-year leasehold tenure started from May 7, 1879.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/gcb-on-sale-at-same-23m-guide-price https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/yarwood-ave-gcb-back-on-market-at-s23m-guide-price


Coworking here to stay despite WeWork concerns

The coworking business is here to stay notwithstanding the recent woes of coworking giant WeWork that has forced it to pull the plug on an initial public offering, according to separate reports from Jefferies and DBS.

A Credit Suisse report earlier this week said poor sentiment on the company could further damp demand for coworking spaces amid slowing gross domestic product growth, hurting office Reits in Singapore.

WeWork’s troubles may speed up consolidation among operators, but Jefferies analyst Krishna Guha believes the coworking business model remains viable here as traditional tenants embrace a “core plus flexible” concept and smaller firms seek to lower fixed costs and ease business expansion.

More work is done by cross-functional project teams who move to different countries once a project ends, he added.

Although Singapore’s overall coworking space has tripled since 2015, its total net lettable area (NLA) of 3.7 million sq ft make up only about 5 per cent of island-wide office space.

Suntec Reit signed a 10-year lease with WeWork in 2018 for 36,500 sq ft of space, which is fully occupied.

The sign-ons for both Reits are below market rate, but have extended fit-out periods and no break clause, noted Mr Guha.

Singapore has the second highest number of coworking centres in Asia behind Tokyo. According to DBS estimates, 30 per cent to 90 per cent of net demand for Singapore office space since 2015 has been from coworking operators. This may slow down in the coming years, it reckoned.

The Reits should be able to manage the slowdown as rents expiring in the next couple of years are currently below market rates by more than 10 percentage points, said Jefferies’ Mr Guha.

So unless there is a drop in demand and job losses increase sharply, landlords can still keep their office occupancy up by lowering reversions and focusing on tenant retention, he added. “Stable unemployment rate can mitigate negative effects in coworking and lower bond yields can provide valuation support.”

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/coworking-here-to-stay-despite-wework-concerns https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/wework-may-cut-staff-as-early-as-this-month https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/garage/wework-singapore-expansion-on-track-even-as-us-parent-seeks-new- funding



HSBC says Singapore recruitment plan still on track

Singapore is unlikely to be hit hard by HSBC’s latest layoffs that threaten up to 10,000 workers – or 4 per cent of its 238,000 global headcount – as the Republic is considered among the markets it’s counting on for growth.

Plans to add more than 400 retail and private banking front-end staff in Singapore by 2023 are also still on track, HSBC told The Business Times.


Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/hsbc-says-singapore-recruitment-plan-still-on-track https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/hsbc-may-slash-10000-jobs-to-cut-costs


JPMorgan Pte Bank sets up Singapore trust company

JPMorgan Private Bank on Thursday launched a trust company in Singapore to cater for its ultra- high net worth (UHNW) clients and their families, as wealth expansion in the region continues to outpace the rest of the world. This is its first trust company in Asia, outside of its existing two in the Bahamas and Delaware, US.

The move will enable the private bank to better meet the complex needs of the super-rich in Asia and serve a wider range of clients in “one of the fastest wealth-generating hubs in the world”.

Singapore, with its status as a global financial centre, sophisticated legal framework, pro-business environment and large talent pool, is a “logical” place to be.

Link to the story:



Motley Fool ceasing Singapore operations over regulatory issues

The Motley Fool Singapore is ceasing operations over a regulatory bind with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The company – a local outpost of Motley Fool in the US – is an investment advisory business that covers stocks and companies, and gives recommendations based on a subscription-based model. Motley Fool has since notified subscribers of its closure and will be providing them with the necessary refunds. It will cease operations completely on Oct 31.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/motley-fool-ceasing-singapore-operations-over-regulatory- issues


3 CBD commercial shophouses up for sale for total of S$31m

Three shophouses – at Telok Ayer Street, Stanley Street and Smith Street – have been launched for sale for a total of S$31 million via an expression of interest (EOI).

All the shophouses are zoned Commercial under the Master Plan 2014. As these are commercial properties, the sale is open to both locals and foreigners, with no Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty and Seller’s Stamp Duty imposed on the purchase price.

The first shophouse, a 2.5-storey freehold unit located at 151 Telok Ayer Street, has a guide price of S$12 million. The shophouse has a land area of 1,574 sq ft, and built-up area of 3,198 sq ft.

As for the freehold shophouse at 14 Stanley Street, it is a 2.5-storey unit currently occupied by a restaurant on the ground floor and offices on the upper floor. The shophouse has a land area of 1,491 sq ft and built-up area of 3,265 sq ft. The guide price for this unit is S$12 million.

The third shophouse – a two-storey corner unit at 8 Smith Street – has a land area of 2,096 sq ft and built-up area of 3,559 sq ft. It is currently tenanted to an F&B establishment on the ground floor. The guide price for this shophouse is S$7 million.

The EOI for all three shophouses will close on Nov 13 at 3 pm.

Link to the story:



Bugis Cube up for collective sale at S$230m reserve price

Bugis Cube has been put up for collective sale via a public tender exercise at a reserve price of S$230 million.

Located at 470 North Bridge Road, Bugis Cube is a six-storey commercial building with a basement carpark.

The reserve price works out to a land rate of about S$3,452 per sq ft per plot ratio, based on the verified gross floor area of 66,614 sq ft or 6,188.67 sq m and a plot ratio of 5.735.

The 999-year leasehold site has a land area of 1,079.1 sq m or 11,615 sq ft. It is zoned “commercial” with a 4.2 plot ratio and a maximum height of six storeys, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014.

The tender closes Nov 14 at 3pm.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/bugis-cube-up-for-collective-sale-at-s230m-reserve-price https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/bugis-cube-up-for-collective-sale-at-230m-reserve-price


Amazon launches bigger local online store in Singapore

AMAZON.COM has launched a bigger local store and marketplace in Singapore, expanding its product selection and intensifying competition with rivals such as Alibaba Group Holding’s Lazada and Sea’s Shopee.

The US company launched local online shopping in Singapore more than two years ago with its fast delivery service through a mobile app.

But its initial local selection, which focused on groceries and household essentials, has not been as wide as those offered by rivals.

“With Amazon.sg, we want to provide what customers have been asking us for – the ability for everyone to shop on desktop and mobile, more local and international selection from Amazon and trusted sellers, paired with fast and reliable delivery,” said Henry Low, Amazon Singapore’s country manager, in a statement.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/consumer/amazon-launches-bigger-local-online-store-in-singapore-0 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/amazon-launches-spore-website-its-first-in-s-e-asia


Habitat banks on premium items for store revamp

Troubled retail start-up Honestbee is looking to reverse its fortunes as it embarks on a restructuring process.

A key priority is to refresh its 60,000 sq ft Habitat supermarket in Pasir Panjang by late next month, in a bid to regain confidence among investors, consumers and employees.

The food-hall section has been refreshed, with a Korean fried chicken store, a hidden bar and a Japanese rice-bowl joint among the recent additions.

Link to the story:



South Asia, South-east Asia exploring closer integration of economies: DPM Heng

Both India and Singapore, as well as their respective regions, are looking at how they can more closely integrate their economies so as to create opportunities for their people, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

“There are many areas of complementarity between the two regions,” he told Singapore media at the end of his four-day visit here.

“With this growing global uncertainty… it is even more important for South Asia and South-east Asia to work closely together to find new opportunities for collaboration,” he added.

DPM Heng discussed ways to step up cooperation when he called on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in particular how they could improve trade and investments between their regions, including in infrastructure, fintech, research and innovation.

Link to the story:



OECD’s proposed tax changes may hit revenue for Singapore

The international community is considering resetting the rules that could fundamentally change the global tax landscape. Singapore’s position is to improve the current value creation concept rather than have it replaced by an approach that focuses on the size of the market.

The city-state further asks that there be no minimum effective tax and to let jurisdictions be allowed to pursue their own policy mix appropriate to their circumstances and developmental needs, said Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Finance and Education.

Tax professionals said if the international community’s proposals on direct taxation are adopted, Singapore may well see a reduction in tax revenue.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is working on a global consensus solution by 2020 for tax issues presented by the digitalisation of the economy. It was proposed that taxing rights be shifted from where value is created to jurisdictions where consumers are or the destination-based approach.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/oecds-proposed-tax-changes-may-hit-revenue-for- singapore


Companies get help to build Global Ready Talent

In order to maintain its competitive edge, Singapore needs talent with the right expertise and networks to help local enterprises reach more overseas markets, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

One way to build up this talent pool is by exposing young people to overseas work opportunities, which is the goal of Enterprise Singapore’s new Global Ready Talent (GRT) programme. It aims to build a pipeline of talent that supports the global aspirations of Singapore companies by co- funding the overseas stints they offer and linking up students and young people with these opportunities.

Mr Chan said the programme hopes to create greater awareness among young people of the markets and issues beyond Singapore, and have them bring back new ideas and in-depth knowledge of other markets.

The cross-cultural skills they develop will enable them to operate across cultures and nationalities and improve their career prospects, as multinational corporations often look for people with diverse experiences beyond Singapore to fill top positions.

Enterprise Singapore will provide funding of up to 70 per cent for allowances and salaries to local enterprises under the GRT programme.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/companies-get-help-to-build-global-ready-talent https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/new-scheme-to-help-young-people-firms-gain-global- exposure


Local bus and train fares to rise by 7% from Dec 28

Bus and train fares will rise by 7 per cent from Dec 28, although the hike will be cushioned for more than one in two Singaporeans, who enjoy concessionary fares.

For the first time, this group will include polytechnic students, who will enjoy student concessions. The hike is the maximum allowed in this year’s formula, and the biggest percentage jump since 1998 – driven largely by a spike in fuel and energy costs.

Adult card fares will rise by nine cents per trip.

In its annual revision announcement on Tuesday, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said senior citizens, low-wage workers, persons with disabilities and students will see the smallest increase of four cents. On the other hand, those who pay by cash or buy single-trip tickets – mostly visitors or infrequent users – will pay 20 cents more per trip, believed to be the single biggest increase so far. The majority who use adult ez-link cards – accounting for nearly two thirds of all trips – will see each ride costing nine cents more. Those who buy monthly concession passes will fork out S$1 to S$5.50 more, while frequent users who buy adult monthly passes will incur S$8 more per month. Polytechnic students will, however, see their commuting cost fall. After many years of lobbying, polytechnic students have now seen student concessions extended to them, allowing them to save up to S$1.54 per trip.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/local-bus-and-train-fares-to-rise-by-7-from-dec-28 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/bus-train-fares-set-to-rise-but-more-to-enjoy-concessions https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/needy-commuters-to-get-more-support-as-transport-fares-go-up https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/poly-students-welcome-extension-of-travel-fare-concessions


PM Lee, Jokowi hope bilateral ties will strengthen further

The relationship between Singapore and Indonesia has prospered, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo noted at their fourth Leaders’ Retreat, as they expressed the hope that ties will grow stronger in the next five years.

The meeting comes ahead of Mr Joko’s swearing-in for his second term in two weeks’ time. President Joko, better known as Jokowi, and Vice-President-Elect Ma’ruf Amin had won the April presidential election on a joint ticket with 55.5 per cent of the vote.

Two pacts were also inked by the two countries, witnessed by their leaders.

The first was the Agreement between Indonesia and Singapore on Electronic Data Exchange to Facilitate and Secure Trade, which will link the one-stop e-Customs facilities, commonly known as national single windows, of both countries. It seeks to bring about a seamless, paperless and secure business environment for bilateral trade.

The second was a Memorandum of Understanding on Archives Cooperation between the National Archives of Singapore, which is under the National Library Board, and the National Archives of Indonesia. It aims to deepen knowledge of the history, culture and heritage on both sides.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/pm-lee-jokowi-hope-bilateral-ties-will-strengthen-further https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/presidents-of-spore-indonesia-reaffirm-ties



Singapore cannot jump the gun on economic bail-out

With factory output and exports falling year on year, business sentiment darkening and gross domestic product (GDP) growth grinding to a halt, no one would say that the Singapore economy is in tip-top shape.

But senior political leaders still stressed in recent weeks that there is no need yet for off-cycle moves and that a recession has not hit.

Warning against jumping the gun on stimulus measures, economic observers largely affirmed this assessment, while reiterating that the job market remains key to determining when policymakers make their move.

That is even as the risks of a technical recession – two straight quarters of quarter-on-quarter contraction – have ticked up.

Link to the story:



Singapore seen narrowly dodging recession in Q3

Singapore’s economy likely escaped a technical recession in the third quarter even as growth stayed subdued, weighed down by the prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China, a Reuters poll showed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have risen 1.5 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally adjusted and annualised basis in July-September, according to the median forecast of 11 economists in the poll.

That would mark a recovery from a 3.3 per cent drop in the second quarter, the biggest contraction in nearly seven years, but analysts say the outlook remains weak as global demand shows further signs of faltering.

Link to the story:



Singapore is world’s most competitive economy: WEF

Singapore is the world’s most competitive economy, according to an updated global league table. It scored 84.8 out of a possible 100, beating the United States to the top spot in the rankings of 141 economies.

Singapore was also No 1 for two of the index’s other pillars – citizens’ healthy life expectancy years and labour markets.

The Netherlands and Switzerland round up the top five most competitive economies. The Netherlands jumped two spots to fourth place while Switzerland fell one to fifth.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-is-worlds-most-competitive-economy-wef https://www.straitstimes.com/business/economy/singapore-economy-ranked-worlds-most-competitive



Poultry sector set for capacity boost with $40m smart factory

Singapore Poultry Hub is setting up the first smart and green factory for the industry here with a

$40 million loan from United Overseas Bank (UOB).

The new 29,384 sq m factory will help Singapore Poultry Hub to improve productivity by 26 per cent and increase capacity by 70 per cent, both firms said in a statement.

The hub is a joint venture between Mr Tan Chin Long, controlling shareholder of Boong Poultry, and four poultry producers and processors – Tong Huat Poultry Processing Factory, Kee Song Holdings, Sinmah Holdings (S) and Tysan Food.

Singapore Poultry Hub will work with partners such as Enterprise Singapore to employ smart technology at its new factory, including robotics, Industry 4.0 technologies and the industrial Internet of Things.

Link to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/poultry-sector-set-for-capacity-boost-with-40m-smart- factory


Full steam ahead for 5G trials, but factories here still cautious

Smart manufacturing is among Singapore’s six strategic clusters for 5G development, with S$40 million in funding set aside for it in June.

But despite the schemes to encourage 5G enterprise trials, factories here may be hanging back out of caution – stymying policymakers’ race to Industry 4.0, even as Singapore’s cooling economy is caught in the throes of technological transformation.

Mao Bor-Yen, general manager for Asia-Pacific manufacturing operations at European chipmaker STMicroelectronics (ST), said that the shop-floor trend is for “more automation, more connectivity”, but noted that ST would tap 5G “by the time the technology is ready” – which may be some way off.

While Singapore’s first public 5G networks are expected to go live next year, fuller coverage will be possible only from 2023 onwards. And another barrier to 5G adoption is the relative immaturity of the cutting-edge digital tools that it is meant to enable.

Link to the story:



Dyson kills Singapore electric car project with closure of auto division

Home appliance giant Dyson has scrapped its entire automotive division – including its plan for an electric car plant in Singapore, the British firm said.

Founder and chairman James Dyson said the company is shuttering the division due to a lack of commercial feasibility. Dyson had made its patents for its electric car public in May.

In October 2018, the firm, best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, said it will manufacture its electric cars at a two-storey facility in Singapore, targeting to roll out the first car in 2021.

Subsequently, in January this year, Dyson announced it was moving its headquarters from the UK to Singapore.

Mr Dyson said the company will continue to expand in Singapore, the UK and and other global locations. It will also focus on manufacturing solid-state batteries and other technologies, such as sensing and vision systems and robotics, machine learning, and AI.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/dyson-kills-singapore-electric-car-project-with-closure-of- auto-division



Co-working space for biotech start-ups in Singapore will launch next month

With pastel-coloured walls, neon decorations and plush sofas, a co-working space in Biopolis can be mistaken for a cafe or a blogshop’s retail outlet.

But NSG BioLabs, fitted with a sterile lab and high-tech equipment, is a 15,000 sq ft co-working space for biotech start-ups. To be launched next month, it looks set to play host to some of the nation’s brightest minds.

The facility will be an incubator for small biotech start-ups, ranging from those with just one to two researchers to those with 20 to 30 people. It has 120 desks, 96 lab benches, eight office suites and six meeting rooms. A desk can be rented for about $500 a month while a lab bench, where two scientists can work at a time, goes for about $2,500 a month.

Link to the story:



Hoi Hup buying Andaz hotel at Duo for $475m from M+S

The national joint venture between Malaysia and Singapore, M+S, will sell the luxury hotel component of the signature Duo mixed-use project for $475 million to Hoi Hup Realty in one of the year’s biggest transactions for a standalone hotel in the region.

M+S said that it agreed to sell all the shares of its wholly owned subsidiary Ophir-Rochor Hotel, which owns Andaz Singapore, to the Singapore property developer.

The proposed sale consideration of $475 million for the 342-room Andaz works out to about $1.39 million per key.

This marks the highest total price for a standalone hotel transaction in Singapore, and the third- highest in Asia this year, according to M+S.

Links to the story:

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/hoi-hup-buying-andaz-hotel-at-duo-for-475m-from-ms https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/ms-to-sell-andaz-hotel-at-duo-for-s475m-to-hoi-hup-realty


Katrina unveils the first of its co-living hotels in Chinatown

Catalist-listed food and beverage (F&B) player Katrina Group unveiled a hotel in Chinatown as the first in a new line of affordable co-living hotels in the Asia-Pacific.

Four more co-living hotels in Singapore under the ST Signature brand will be rolled out within the next 12 months, including a flagship in Tanjong Pagar which will open its doors later in October. This marks the group’s first major expansion since it entered the hospitality segment with its acquisition of serviced residences provider Straits Organization in December 2018.

Room rates at the Chinatown hotel range from S$60 to S$200 per night.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/katrina-unveils-the-first-of-its-co-living-hotels-in-chinatown https://www.straitstimes.com/business/property/new-hotel-in-south-bridge-road-rides-on-co-living-trend


Obamas to headline Singapore events in December

Former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama will visit Singapore in December to speak at events organised by The Growth Faculty.

Mr Obama will address Asia-Pacific business leaders at the Singapore Expo on Dec 16, speaking about his time in office and his thoughts on leadership in the world. It will be his first public business event in Singapore.

As a former first lady, Mrs Obama will speak at a Dec 14 event about her public and private life, and the experiences that she has shared in her memoir Becoming.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/life-culture/obamas-to-headline-singapore-events-in-december https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/obamas-to-give-public-talks-in-spore-in-december


One Championship readies for blockbuster 100th show

What a whirlwind ride it’s been for Singapore-headquartered One Championship over the past eight years. Since the martial arts organisation staged its first show at the Indoor Stadium in Kallang back in September 2011, the company is now set to celebrate its landmark 100th “live” event next weekend in Tokyo.

Aptly named “One: Century”, there will be two full-scale shows held in the Japanese capital on Oct 13, with seven world title bouts and 28 world champions set to compete inside the cage.

The first show is headlined by a “Champion vs Champion” rematch between Singapore’s Angela Lee and China’s Xiong Jingnan for Lee’s women’s atomweight world championship. The second event will see two-division champion Aung La N Sang of Myanmar defending his light heavyweight belt against the reigning heavyweight champion Brandon Vera of the Philippines.

Link to the story:



Grange Road carpark to transform into event space

The open-air carpark in Grange Road will be turned into a permanent event space for pop-up events and entertainment, as part of government efforts to rejuvenate Orchard Road and encourage more activities outside of its shopping malls.

The 4,482 sq m carpark, operated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), will cease operations on Feb 29, 2019. It is one of three carparks in the Orchard area operated by the URA, with the other two at Angullia Park and Penang Road.

The URA, Singapore Land Authority and Singapore Tourism Board will launch a price and quality tender later this month to appoint an operator to transform the area into a “dedicated and dynamic event space with complementary commercial offerings”, the agencies said in a statement on Oct 4.

A centrepiece of the Somerset area, it will host activities such as flea markets, pop-up attractions and food trucks, and serve as a public space on non-event days, the authorities said.

The use of state land such as open-air carparks in Grange Road and Angullia Park for ad hoc events was first mooted in 2017, along with other ideas to revive the shopping belt.

The Grange Road carpark has since hosted six events including the Flashbang street market, and will be one of the venues for this year’s Great Christmas Village.

Links to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/grange-road-carpark-to-transform-into-event-space https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/orchard-rd-to-get-new-event-space https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/grange-road-carpark-to-be-transformed-into-vibrant-event-space


Thailand to lead 4 Asean states in bid to host World Cup 2034

Over two decades after the idea of a joint Asean bid for the Fifa World Cup was mooted, the project has been given a fresh lease of life, with Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn’s announcement that Thailand will lead a joint bid to host the 2034 tournament. The other four nations are Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, Bangkok Post reported. The proposal for a joint bid was agreed to at the fifth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Sports in Manila.

If Asean does make a bid to host the 2034 World Cup, it can expect fierce competition from other countries who have shown interest in staging the quadrennial tournament.

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Canada’s housing market is roaring back with black-tie condo launches

More than a thousand brokers and agents sipped wine and nibbled at tuna hors d’oeuvres at the black-tie sales launch of a luxury condominium in downtown Toronto last month.

The 62-storey proposed skyscraper in Yorkville, one of Canada’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, features black marble kitchens with built-in wine troughs, an indoor-outdoor infinity pool and a piano lounge. Units range from about C$650,000 (S$673,434) to almost C$1.97 million for a 1,163 square foot three-bedroom suite. Add in parking for C$169,000.

Canada’s housing market is back with a roar this fall. Benchmark prices in Toronto jumped 5.2 per cent to C$805,500 in September from a year earlier, only about $10,000 below their peak two years ago. While prices in Vancouver continue to fall, sales rebounded 46 per cent, the third month in a row of year-on-year gains. Montreal and Ottawa continue to chug along and even in beleaguered Calgary, the energy capital of Canada, sales rose 8.2 per cent in September from last year.

Link to the story:

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/canadas-housing-market-is-roaring-back-with-black-tie-condo- launches


Vancouver home market stabilising after slump

Vancouver home sales rebounded 46 per cent in September in a sign that Canada’s most expensive home market may be finding its feet following a policy-driven downturn.

It was the third consecutive month that the number of properties sold was up from the same period last year.

Prices, however, continue to slip: the benchmark home price fell 7.3 per cent in September compared with the same month last year, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Vancouver, once one of the world’s hottest real estate markets, has been reeling under a slew of government policies introduced since 2016 to tame years of relentless growth that made the city the most unaffordable on the continent.

To address housing affordability, Canadian policy makers need a more comprehensive policy that addresses supply, such as making the approval process speedier and more transparent and constructing more rental-only housing, the IMF said.

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Manhattan’s luxury lease prices soar

Manhattan rents are on the rise, and climbing fastest for the most-expensive apartments in the New York borough.

Super-luxury rents – the top 5 per cent of the market by price – jumped 9.1 per cent in September from a year earlier to a median of US$12,000, while the top 10 per cent luxury category saw a 3.4 per cent gain to US$8,473, according to data.

By comparison, non-luxury rents – the bottom 90 per cent – rose 1.7 per cent to a median of US$3,395. It was the 10th straight month with an increase.

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Australia housing market in ‘mini-boom’

Approvals for new home loans in Australia jumped for a second consecutive month in August, in a sign that recent rate cuts and easier lending rules were boosting the housing market though activity elsewhere in the economy remained subdued.

Home loans, a leading indicator for housing prices, showed a solid 3.2 per cent gain in August to A$33.5 billion (S$31.19 billion), Thursday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed. Home loans had risen 5 per cent in July.

Lending to property investors increased 6 per cent, the largest increase since September 2016. Home prices enjoyed their biggest monthly jump in 21/2 years in September. Sydney and Melbourne prices climbed 1.7 per cent, a rate of increase reminiscent of the bubble days of 2016.

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Lee Sze Teck Head, Research

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