A catalyst for development and economic growth

Finance Avenue in i-City is the address of Mercu Maybank, the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, BeCentral Residences, an international convention center, high-end offices and commercial suites

Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle of Selangor in Shah Alam, i-City is Malaysia’s first tech city and a next-generation smart city with artificial intelligence (AI). The integrated ultrapolis developed by I-Berhad includes lifestyle elements such as a 1.5 million square foot Central i-City shopping center, a leisure theme park, serviced residences and international hotels , as well as smart corporate towers, office cybersuites, convention centers, data centers and a financial hub.

I-Berhad has partnered with Huawei Enterprise Malaysia to strengthen its credentials as a smart city and next-level urban development based on information and communications technology. The process involves AI enhancements that combine smart home, smart city and property technologies to create better value and smart community amenities for people who visit, live and work in i-City.

With the partnership focusing on the use of innovative technology infrastructure, it stresses that bandwidth for employees and customers operating digitally must be expanded. The pace of digital transformation must be accelerated to accommodate the growing use of data and analytics, digital twins, direct digital engagement, machine learning, and robotic automation.

Huawei CEO David Li notes that digital transformation of a business has become a necessity, especially with the adoption of 5G technology. In fact, creating a technology infrastructure that supports a company’s business strategy, innovation, scalability, and digital capabilities would require millions of ringgits. This is where capital expenditures will be used for communication networks, data centers, data security and end-user technology services.

“Business leaders walk a tightrope between managing costs and investing in the future. Budgets have been reassessed and reprioritized, and since most operations can be conducted in line with digital transformation, business leaders will need to shift funds originally budgeted for downtown commercial real estate locations towards digital transformation,” says Li.

He adds that the need for AI infrastructure and cloud computing is growing and will continue to do so. So, property developers should consider providing virtual storage for this growing cloud space when building commercial real estate. This is where developments such as i-City come in.

Raising Shah Alam

According to Tang Chee Meng, COO of Henry Butcher Malaysia Sdn Bhd, i-City was designed from the start as a technology and IT-driven development.

The mega project is expected to create positive multipliers and economic spin-offs due to the large integrated freehold development which has an estimated GDV of RM10 billion – Khong

Officially recognized as a Super Corridor (MSC) Media Cyber ​​Center, i-City is served by 400G-enabled network connectivity, dual-source power supply, Tier 3 data center, AI facial recognition capability and SuperApp mobile community , among others.

Managing Director of Savills Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Datuk Paul Khong, said the 72-acre midtown is one of six key areas positioned as catalysts for development and economic growth, based on the draft Local Plan 2035 of Shah Alam Municipal Council (MBSA).

Khong believes that i-City will have full government support to become a global innovation hub or Silicon Valley, and the key success factors would likely be public-private partnerships and capital investments from global technology companies. “If this transformation materializes, the influx of capital investment such as capital, entrepreneurs, talent, expertise and technological know-how will elevate Shah Alam’s status as a recognized global technology and financial hub. internationally,” he said.

i-City will continue to draw crowds, including new residents, homeowners and office workers, when this is all over, Khong said. “The mega project is expected to create positive economic multipliers and spin-offs due to the large integrated freehold development which has an estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM10 billion.”

Considering that i-City has launched its residential developments at higher benchmark prices than surrounding areas, Tang believes this will have a positive impact on the prices of nearby residential projects. “The development will change the landscape and image of Shah Alam because the i-City development concept and components break away from the traditional, stuffy image of Shah Alam as the capital and administrative center of Selangor.”

I-Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong (left) and Maybank Chairman Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa at the official launch of Mercu Maybank

New opportunities for business growth

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) is relocating part of its operations from its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to the 33-storey Mercu Maybank on Finance Avenue in i-City. Mercu Maybank is the first Grade A smart business tower, rated by i-City’s Green Building Index (GBI), which will house Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, multinational corporations and international players logistics.

Maybank’s presence on Finance Avenue in i-City will act as a catalyst for fintech companies and Chinese companies to locate there, according to Zhang Min, CEO of Bank of China (Malaysia), who is also chairman of the Chamber of Chinese Enterprise Trade in Malaysia (CECCM). “I think Maybank’s relocation of part of its Finance Avenue operations to i-City will attract Chinese businesses,” he said.

Maybank’s presence at Finance Avenue in i-City will attract Chinese businesses, says Zhang Min, CEO of Bank of China (Malaysia) Bhd (right)

This is expected to increase traffic to the adjacent Central i-City, especially during lunchtime and after office hours, increasing the vibrancy of the mall. There have been requests from supporting and complementary services such as healthcare providers, fitness centers and spas seeking to occupy malls connected to the mall via a connecting bridge. i-City has seen a significant increase in commercial and residential rental applications.

Mercu Maybank is equipped with modern technology and infrastructure which has added a new dimension to i-City. “The influx of 1,500 workers will likely lead to increased demand for housing in the midtown and surrounding areas, as some of these workers may find it more convenient to relocate closer to their workplaces,” Tang said.

With the banking group occupying approximately 160,000 square feet of space, this is a strong vote of confidence in i-City and is sure to draw a crowd. Khong notes that the obvious spillover effects from Mercu Maybank will be higher demand for support and synergy from existing small offices/home offices (SoHos) and residences located near the development.

Prudential is one of the tenants that makes Mercu Maybank a base for more than 1,000 Klang Valley employees. ThinkHub, a coworking space in the office tower, is also fully occupied by multinational e-commerce companies.

Get out of the city center

According to Tang, the relocation of businesses outside the city center is a natural phenomenon that happens all over the world. As cities expand and land in the city center becomes scarce and expensive, office rents and operating costs rise, forcing businesses to rethink and streamline their operations.

The development will change the landscape and image of Shah Alam because the concept and development components of i-City break away from the traditional and stuffy image of Shah Alam as the capital and administrative center of Selangor – Tang

Traffic jams in the city center, as well as expensive and limited parking spaces, are a problem for businesses. “Some companies will adopt a hub and spoke model/approach where for some reason the head office has to be located in the city center, reduce and move departments that are not needed in the city center. This means that its back office, telemarketing operations and filing and storage facilities can be moved to cheaper premises outside the city center,” says Tang.

According to Khong, business costs and connectivity are the main drivers of such relocation exercises. Rents are relatively lower in decentralized locations and many tenants are comfortable with new neighborhoods, especially those with good transportation and considered smart cities.

“From an urban economics and urban resource planning perspective, the process of decentralization coincides with the maturation of the satellite towns that were once established to support the growing population of the central business district. This is where satellite cities are rapidly evolving into emerging cities and suburban nodes characterized by regional malls and high-quality office towers,” he says.

i-City is connected by a network of highways such as the New Klang Valley Expressway, West Coast Expressway and Federal Highway, linking it to seaports, airports and the

Kuala Lumpur city center is a 30-minute drive away. It is also close to the upcoming i-City LRT3 station, which will be connected to i-City buildings via covered walkways provided by I-Berhad, improving walking in the city. Mobility in the city will be further enhanced with self-driving shuttle buses to be launched when the LRT station opens in 2024.

Launched in 2004, i-City currently consists of 4,000 units of residential properties and 670,000 square feet of commercial areas, which are 85% and 70% occupied respectively. The Central i-City mall – whose opening was presided over by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah – was 85% occupied in the first year of operation. The i-City theme park, which draws an average crowd of 90,000 people per week, has been recognized by CNN Travel as the 21st brightest and most colorful place in the world. When completed, i-City is expected to have 25,000 residents and 30,000 knowledge workers.

Learn more: https://www.i-city.my/#golden-triangle

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