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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Taipei and Singapore - Strata titled versus Mall management

Taipei and Singapore

Have you been to Taipei?

What's your first impression?

Messy right?

I love it! I'm a city walker. I enjoying getting lost in the side and back streets of Taipei!

Some of my Singaporean colleagues hate it though... Not used to it.

I still remember my first business trip there.

When I walk down the street near my hotel, I see residential apartment blocks mixed in with office buildings, over here there's a car repair shop, next to it some eateries, then further down more workshops, and lo and behold, a small night market hidden from the main road!

Eh... What happen to zoning and urban planning?

In case you not aware, Taipei is one of the star example if you want to find a city that has "grown" organically bottom-up to suit the needs of the city dwellers.

Singapore of course is the opposite.

We take pride in our cookie-cutter top down urban planning where no hair is ever misplaced. Everything is planned years in advanced. Those interested can take a look at URA's Master Plans for the future.

No surprises. No spontaneity.

But we win awards.

Strata-titled versus mall management

When it comes to Singapore shopping centres, I am impressed by those that are managed by CapitaLand.

Why even in Shanghai, the Raffles City Shanghai opposite People's Square is now a landmark there. Makes me feel at "home" during my 4 years there.

It shows the power of top-down centrally planned mall management - when it works!

Of course, there are poor poseurs for mall management at some of our shopping centres. We know it immediately when we enter. Something feels off..

I have a habit of going to the information counter to check who is the mall management. Occupation hazard, I guess...

Then there are the strata-titled shopping centres. Some are doing well; some suffering badly.

Let's take Queensway Shopping Centre in my backyard. Its still thriving all these years! Despite having no anchor tenant and no being able to chose your tenant mix. Everything is like pot-luck!

It's not top-down centrally planned, but organically grown bottom-up a bit like Taipei city.

However, if we look at Holland Village Shopping Centre, another strata-titled mall, things are not looking so rosy..

What gives?

Grasshopper and Ant

Need I say more?

You fill in the blank yourself.



  1. My "office" just shifted. However, the management for this commercial building is quite underwhelming. No pantry, no water dispensers, paper towels in the washroom need 2 weeks to restock. Haiz.

    Meanwhile.....based on what I read on CCT's website, they even treat their tenant to a yearly meal to strengthen their landlord-tenant relationship!

    Tell me about making tenants happy!

    1. Uninteligent Nerd,

      "Hardware" easy to copy; "software" that's hard to replicate.

      I'm quite impressed with what they did with JCube.

      With the strong competition from Jem and Westgate, the mall management of JCube has successfully repositioned JCube as the hangout place for youth.

      And that's cool!

      For those into the qualitative side of fundamental investing, wisdom is knowing not to assume shopping centres with mall management will always beat those malls that are strata-titled.

      Or assuming being an "investor" will beat those who trade ;)

      Most retail investors are failed traders anyway.


  2. Queensway shopping center! Memories of..
    #1 Specs
    #2 Sports shoes
    #3 Ah beng clothes

    Malls are fun to visit. No guesswork needed. Check out the shops mix. Try the food. Feel the crowd. Notice the changes. See if the toilets are clean. Numbers can't tell you all these :D

    1. Kevin,

      Ah beng clothes!?


      In the 80s, Queensway got fight with Far East Shopping Centre for that kind of "fashion".

      Queensway also famous for jeans alteration, photocopy (how they survive with the copyright laws I no clue), and even the "Katong" laksa there power!

      The latest new entrants are the T-shirt embroidery shops.

      Very happy that landmark of my youth still around and thriving!

    2. Oh yeah, the third floor photocopy services and later on, a bunch of t-shirt printing services. Plenty of class tees were from there! Exactly how many Katong laksa in Sg I don't know haha!

      To be honest I haven't stepped into Queensway for a while, although I usually drop by Alexandra Village for Claypot laksa (!) and duck rice etc. Yum.

    3. Kevin,

      Ah! You know you foodie.

      That claypot laksa used to be at Depot Road. Quite unique.

      Next time there, you may also want to try the wanton mee at the back row right hand side overlooking the carpark. Its formerly from Dover Road and run by 2 elderly uncles.

      It's the "wet" kind of dry wanton noodles. And savoury.


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