CapitaLand drives sustained growth

August 10, 2021 | 14:03
This year marks 27 since CapitaLand first began operations and development in the Vietnamese market. VIR’s Gia Khanh talked with Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Vietnam, on the group’s journey in Vietnam and its responses to minimise pandemic impacts and stabilise operations.

What achievements have CapitaLand made so far in its time in this country?

Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Vietnam
Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Vietnam

Our portfolio comprises two integrated developments, close to 8,600 quality homes across 15 residential developments, and one retail mall as well as over 7,600 lodging units in 31 properties across 10 cities.

Prominent among these projects is The Vista, which greatly resonated in the real estate market in 2007, and recently launched projects including Feliz en Vista, d’Edge Thao Dien in Ho Chi Minh City, and Capital Place, a grade-A office building in Hanoi.

We are proud to have won more than 70 prestigious local and foreign awards for the brand and outstanding projects such as the PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards, PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards, The Golden Dragon, and more. This is a testament to our vision and mission of contributing to enriching people and communities through high-quality real estate products and services in Vietnam.

The group has set a goal of achieving 100 per cent green certification for its global investment portfolio. How has this been implemented in projects in Vietnam so far?

CapitaLand places sustainability at the core of what it does. As a responsible real estate company, we contribute to the environmental and social wellbeing of the communities where we operate, as it delivers long-term economic value to our stakeholders.

CapitaLand’s sustainability effort in Vietnam has been proven through its completed projects such as Feliz en Vista, Vista Verde in Ho Chi Minh City, and Seasons Avenue in Hanoi which have green building codes applied in design and construction, and have also been conferred Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Gold award.

How has CapitaLand responded to the ongoing pandemic to minimise the negatives and maintain operations during this difficult time?

The pandemic has created significant challenges to the group at both its headquarters and in key markets, including Vietnam. Amidst this unprecedented situation, the top priority is the health and safety of our employees and residents at our properties, along with the stakeholder trust in our business growth.

In Vietnam, we adhere to the strict guidelines put in place by the government and began to apply the work-from-home policy for employees in June to minimise the risks of infection. The major change of this policy is the shift to virtual meetings and the focus on digitalisation in most of our business activities.

In terms of our business, we are proud to have an experienced team that has been contributing to maintaining our operations, from project development to handover and marketing activities. Despite numerous limitations caused by the pandemic, the completion of handing over the majority of 1,400 units of Feliz en Vista and d’Edge Thao Dien in Ho Chi Minh City, and the commencement of operations of Capital Place in Hanoi, were the key milestones marked in 2020.

In addition to traditional segments such as high-end residential and serviced apartments, what other segments will be added to your portfolio, and what is the strategy behind this?

Traditional residential developments remain our key asset class in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, demonstrating our competitive advantages and brand positioning over the past 27 years. However, our future growth lies in how we recalibrate our strategies to move forward, particularly in identifying the potential of new asset classes in the market.

Currently, we are evaluating various opportunities from single-site residential projects to large-scale urban development projects that provide longer sustainability of pipeline.

In addition, the completion of our merger with Ascendas-Singbridge in 2019 has provided us with the platform and capability to venture into the development and ownership of logistics assets and industrial parks, which will be one of the main drivers for the Vietnam economy over the medium and long term. By leveraging deep local expertise and networks, we are making efforts to grow a portfolio of these facilities both in the north and south of Vietnam.

CapitaLand drives sustained growth

CapitaLand over the years has carried out many corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to support the local community. What significant activities that the group organised recently?

The focus of our CSR efforts is our CapitaLand Hope School network and its students, in which we strive to organise annual activities such as CapitaLand Volunteer Day, My School Bag, and the Bursary Programme. On top of that, we encourage our employees to volunteer their time and skills to facilitate these activities, aiming to help them understand these responsibilities and the meaning of giving back.

In addition, we pay further attention to participating in other community activities such as the donation of test kits valued at $1 million for COVID-19 prevention in 2020, and the providing of necessities and medical equipment to people affected by the pandemic in Bac Giang province at the beginning of this year.

In May, we launched a “Spread Love, Share Hope” campaign to raise awareness and rally the community to support the social development of underprivileged children. Within two weeks, the campaign received a strong response from the public, achieving our initial pledge of VND500 million ($21,700).

In support of this, we doubled the pledge to VND1 billion ($43,500) in June. The funds raised will go to enhancing school facilities in Son Dong and Luc Nam districts of Bac Giang province, and donated books will be delivered to CapitaLand Hope Schools across Vietnam.

CapitaLand Limited

CapitaLand Limited. is one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, it owns and manages a global portfolio worth about S$137.7 billion as of the end of March 2021.

CapitaLand’s portfolio spans across diversified real estate classes which include commercial, retail, business park, industrial and logistics, integrated development, urban development, and lodging and residential. With a presence across more than 240 cities in over 30 countries, the group focuses on Singapore and China as its core markets, while it continues to expand in markets such as India, Vietnam, Australia, Europe, and the United States.

CapitaLand has one of the largest real estate investment management businesses globally. It manages six listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) and business trusts as well as over 20 private funds. CapitaLand launched Singapore’s first REIT in 2002 and today, its stable of REITs and business trusts comprises CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust, Ascott Residence Trust, CapitaLand China Trust, Ascendas India Trust, and CapitaLand Malaysia Mall Trust.

CapitaLand Vietnam

CapitaLand Vietnam is a business unit of CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups. In line with CapitaLand’s credo ‘Building People. Building Communities’, the group is committed to contributing to the Vietnamese economy by seeking opportunities to expand its presence in the country.

In terms of corporate social responsibility efforts, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, has been donating to build four CapitaLand Hope Schools for underprivileged children in Phu Tho, Long An, and Hung Yen provinces.

Follow CapitaLand Vietnam on social media at www.facebook.com/capitalandvietnam, or alternatively at www.youtube.com/capitalandinvietnam.

By Gia Khanh

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional