Celebrating the wins

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Success comes to those who work for it

By JOSEPH WONG
josephwong@thestar.com.my

Star Media Group (SMG) chairman Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung (front row, fifth from left) and SMG group chief executive officer Alex Yeow (front row, sixth from left) take a virtual group photo with the winners of the StarProperty Awards 2021.

The expressions of winners tell it all even though they were all following standard operating procedures (SOPs). The excitement of receiving the sought-after trophies of the StarProperty Awards 2021 exudes even behind the masks as the pandemic failed to dampen the thrill of victory.

Major players in the field of property development showed that they have remained strong in the face of adversity and are not afraid of striving for bigger returns in the foreseeable future. It can be said that the secret of success is brought about by a combination of smart habits, a tenacious spirit and a whole lot of luck. And making a few conscious changes in behaviour and attitude could prove to be quite rewarding. So how are the outstanding award-winning developers able to shine brighter amid the gloomy overcast of the Covid-19 pandemic?

“It really relates back to what kind of values and positive impacts have we created for our buyers and our community at large within our developments,” said Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd (Matrix Concepts) group managing director
Ho Kong Soon.

Every developer has its own branding, said Ho.

“Keeping true to our promise as a responsible community developer to all stakeholders, buyers’ satisfaction on prompt delivery of a good quality shelter is not enough. We at Matrix Concepts have upped our game plan to innovate as we build our resilience and continuously perform despite this unprecedented time to enhance the lives of our community in our developments,” he said.

The key to success needs a more holistic approach for the real estate industry. A holistic approach is needed where
big townships like Bandar Sri Sendayan are concerned. It is not just a simple case of building and delivering various real estate types to home buyers and investors.

Given the immense size of the township, the master developer has to look at every possible angle to elevate and spur the growth of the entire development, and not just the neighbourhoods within.

“Socio-economic levels must improve overall and factors such as job opportunities and steady employment through FDIs (foreign direct investments), and other forms of investments for urbanisation, play a huge role besides the current offerings of public amenities, infrastructure connectivity and convenience.

“The involvement of various stakeholders, including the local government and authorities, in a collaborative effort towards betterment will create synergistic values and advantages, especially for the community at our townships. The return of investments for our homebuyers and all stakeholders will be more than doubled intrinsically,” Ho said.

Knowing what will work will put developers in a better position.

Standing out in the crowd
With many property developers in the market, competition among industrial peers often requires them to up the ante. Some developers make bold statements while others weave intrinsic values that are subtle yet captivating to house buyers. Regardless, these elements elevate one township from the another.

“We strongly believe that the true measurement should be the affirmation of happy and satisfied customers, employees and of course our shareholders,” said Guocoland marketing and sales executive director Andy Chua.

“What we strive for are having returning customers and getting their referrals, fulfilling our employees’ career aspirations and attracting new talents whilst giving shareholders reasonable returns and obtaining their reinvestment. That is the ultimate objective of a relevant, thriving and sustainable organisation going forward,” he said.

Chua believed that every property delivered must satisfy the aspect of liveability, including its environment. “Therefore, we don’t just build and deliver properties with bricks, mortars and structures but prioritise the experience of our purchasers intended living in the spaces created for them. We hold true to the proven adage that a happy and satisfied customer is the best testament,” he said.

“It is important to deliver what we planned and promised. In the long term, our objective is to make GuocoLand Malaysia synonymous with a responsible and sustainable developer that delivers place-making property incorporating good design and quality, emphasising liveability, and of course enhancing appreciating value to our customers as well,” he added.

Culture and DNA are key attributes to Mah Sing’s success, said Hon Sang.

Fast turnaround business model
Similarly, Mah Sing Group Bhd’s (Mah Sing) approach is similar. Mah Sing group chief executive officer Datuk Ho Hon Sang said the company takes pride in understanding the needs of the home buyers.

“We always craft our strategies and design our projects in line with the current market trends. This ensures that we could offer the right product at the right price,” he said. Being nimble also plays a crucial role for the property developer. It is also one of the fastest to react to changes in the market and strategise solutions to meet those new needs.

“Mah Sing is also well known for its fast turnaround and nimble business model where we are always quick to acclimatise to the changing market conditions, and this gives us an edge over our peers. Mah Sing’s culture of fast execution has also been a strength of the group to stand the test of time,” affirmed Hon Sang.

Naturally, having a strong hand on finances is a crucial attribute. Those who are financially stable can afford to take advantage of land acquisition when the market is soft to reduce their development cost, translating to more affordable homes for buyers. Hon Sang confirmed this fact.

“Mah Sing practices prudent and disciplined financial management. With a healthy balance sheet, this allows us to consistently eye more land as part of our strategy for continuous growth, with Greater Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley, Johor and Penang being the focus areas,” he said.

It does not mean that a property developer has to be a Bursa Malaysia-listed company to be financially strong. Many non-listed companies can also achieve this strength, like SkyWorld Development Group, which took StarProperty’s 2020 award for the most financially stable property developer.

Finding the right fit will help ensure success.

Not just building homes
“There is actually one distinct goal or an on-going concern in our journey towards being a reputable developer – being successful is very subjective and how do you define success?”

Matrix Concepts’ Ho pointed out. “At Matrix Concepts, our concern is towards our community which encompasses all our stakeholders and being labelled a community developer resonates well with us. How do we take care of our community? What can we do for our community? How can we do better for ourselves and our community as one. What do we aspire our community to be? All these are valid concerns for us as a developer. It is not just about building houses,” he said.

Ho emphasised that the vision is to build a community that is integrated, multi-racial and living in harmony within a self-sustaining township. The idea of a civilised society enriched with understanding and the diversity of its people where every resident feels safe with equal socio-economic opportunities within a thriving desired address comes into play, he said.

“To achieve this is not easy. It takes hard work and lots of effort to improve with continuous enhancements in various development of our projects and townships. Value creation is a must to uplift the lives of the homebuyers and the living standards. Much attention must be thought out to find our edge in this competitive property market as a sought-after developer.

“With such a goal in mind, our key strengths are that we at Matrix Concepts are adaptive and agile. Our ears are always on the ground as we listen to the market and the needs and wants of the homebuyers. Thus, we are able to have quick turnaround time and revisions due to our readiness in our business continuity plans within our structured processes and systems. Also, having the trust of our contractors and supply chain helps the overall efficiency and efficacy. All these essential factors are nought if we do not have a team of like-minded players who are leaders in their own fields who work cohesively and in tandem to our company’s goal,” Ho said.

The key to success needs a more holistic approach for the real estate industry.

To cap it all up, Ho said the critical indicators of a successful development could be spelt out in four aspects, namely:
• The price of the property over time.
• The migration of home buyers from other states.
• The residing population rate after the handover.
• The socio-economic growth of the surroundings.

A final word from Hon Sang pointed to one other defining factor as well - that the property developer itself needed to be a forward-looking one.

“The company’s culture and DNA is also one of the key attributes to our success. The spirit of entrepreneurship is deeply embedded within Mah Sing and informs how we innovate, constantly reevaluate and reinvent our way of doing things. This is embodied in our tagline of Reinvent Spaces. Enhance Life,” he said.


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