Asset-rich, innovative transformer of i-City
By Joseph Wong
SHAH ALAM: I-Berhad, which transformed the RM10bil i-City, Malaysia No 1 Technology City in two decades, is set to be a trailblazer in the triple play of real estate, technology and finance.
It has been envisioned to be more of an innovative transformer of assets than a pure real estate player or a run-of-the-mill developer.
I-Berhad has successfully aggregated well-known brands in property, hospitality and retail while attracting multinationals in technology and finance.
Not many realise that I-Berhad's wholly-owned properties have attracted iconic brands like DoubleTree by Hilton and Best Western in the hospitality industry. It wholly owns Mercu Maybank, the Grade-A GBI-certified smart corporate tower that has been chosen by Malaysia’s largest bank to relocate 1,500 of its staff here. Other tenants include multi-national corporations (MNCs) and Fortune 500 companies.
On the technology front, I-Berhad also wholly owns i-City's Tier-3 certified data centre, which is served by a super artificial intelligence (AI) and dual-fibre network and provides all internet and connectivity needs to its community. Also, in the pipeline are new hyperscale data centres to meet the expected surge in demand for cloud-computing facilities and big data crunching.
More than 10 years ago, the groundwork was laid by first creating an internet-savvy community, bringing in state-of-the-art networks and providing an evolving future-ready eco-system for i-City. I-Berhad transformed the land that i-City now resides innovatively, so many see its role as an innovative transformer.
The 150,000 sq ft CentralWalk in i-City, a lifestyle and edutainment hub and the leisure park that has won the accolade of City of Digital Lights from CNN Travel, including 14,000 parking bays, are all also wholly owned by I-Berhad.
With the next phase of progress, it would focus on technology that complements finance and aid the proliferation of Super Apps, to be at the forefront of fintech and emerging trends in technology to future-proof i-City’s further development.
It has been challenging to always be a step ahead of the competition but it was also rewarding when I-Berhad sees success in being the preferred enabler for global multi-national corporations and tech-driven companies, many of whom have chosen to be located at i-City Finance Avenue.
i-City Finance Avenue, which is connected to Central i-City Mall, houses Mercu Maybank and DoubleTree by Hilton. It includes the upcoming BeCentral serviced residences, premium offices and retail as well as experiential centres while the international convention centre, with its 2,000 pax capacity, is expected to open end of next year.
For retail, I-Berhad brought in Central Pattana Group of Thailand as its partner. This largest mall operator in Thailand chose to establish Central i-City Mall as its first foreign investment and holds a 60% stake in the mall, while the remaining 40% is held by I-Berhad. The Thai partner is also managing the mall.
The foresight and far-sightedness of Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who accorded i-City the international zone status in 2008, has resulted in the transformation of the capital city, Shah Alam into a global arena, drawing in foreign businesses and brand names.