Fuelling Cyberjaya's growth
LOCATED next to the federal administrative capital of Putrajaya, Cyberjaya is fast becoming the destination of choice for multi-national companies (MNCs), corporate entities and property developers, who foresee the business potential the township has to offer.
Cyberjaya, which is built on former agricultural land, was founded in 1996 as the first hub for the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia when the Government identified ICT and multimedia as a new growth engine for Malaysia.
It was launched in 1997 by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and developed into a self-contained city with world-class IT infrastructure, low-density urban enterprise and state-of-the-art commercial, residential and institutional developments.
Cyberview Sdn Bhd was established in Oct 1996 as the landowner and given the task to spearhead Cyberjaya’s development
Managing director Faris Yahaya said Cyberjaya began as a hub designed to attract research and development (R&D) initiatives, but eventually became one of the primary locations for the global shared services and outsourcing (SSO) sector.
“SSO is viewed as one of the best competitive strategies using ICT, finance and accounting, human resources and engineering design and services.
“As Malaysia has been the world’s third most attractive SSO location over the last eight years (according to AT Kearney Offshore Location Attractiveness Index), Cyberview was given the authority to spearhead the development of a global MSC Malaysia Cybercity hub,” said Faris at his office in the SME Technopreneur Centre in Cyberjaya recently.
He said the prospects for Cyberjaya went far beyond just being a cybercity.
“Cyberjaya is a new growth area. From 1997 to 2009, the development of Cyberjaya was driven by public investments while from 2010 onwards, it was initiated by private investments,” said Faris.
He said the environment played a big role in nurturing investments and Cyberview’s role was to offer support that went beyond physical development.
“This includes connecting, networking, identifying and implementing opportunities for companies and investments to grow,” he said, adding that since Cyberjaya was founded, 19 developers had invested in the area.
The seven major developers in Cyberjaya include Emkay Group, UEM Land Bhd, SP Setia Bhd, OSK Property, MCT Bhd, Paramount Properties Sdn Bhd and Mah Sing Bhd.
Cyberjaya is located on 2,800ha of land, of which half has been set aside for green buildings, water bodies and infrastructure. About 800ha of the remaining half has already been developed, leaving about 600ha for future development.
Faris said Cyberjaya was an ideal investment location as it was located midway between the Kuala Lumpur city centre and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
He said the presence of 38 MNCs, 490 MSC Malaysia status companies and 790 other companies in the area showed there was potential for business and property developments to grow further.
Faris said the seven universities and colleges, as well as five schools, in Cyberjaya attracted a large number of foreign students, which created an international environment that fuelled more growth and opportunities.
To date, Cyberjaya’s day-time population has reached 55,000 this year as opposed to 52,000 in 2011. The number of knowledge workers have increased to 35,000 this year compared to 30,000 in 2011.
“The current population is expected to double to 100,000 by 2016 with the robust developments taking place,” said Faris, adding that the development of more than 100,000 residential units was also in the pipeline.
“A RM1.02bil mixed development project comprising 2,500 units of houses and commercial units is in the pipeline. A total of 794 units have been reserved for the 1Malaysia People’s Housing (Prima) initiative, which will be sold at a price of between RM220,000 to RM250,000. This will benefit individuals and families with an average monthly household income of RM2,500 to RM7,500,” he added.
The other projects in the pipeline include by property developer Emkay Group, with the first phase of 960 units of affordable homes expected to be launched by the first quarter of next year with a total of 3,682 units to be built in Cyberjaya.
The affordable homes project in Cyberjaya, developed at a cost of RM500mil, would help encourage more local and foreign companies to set up office here.
Faris said the total investments in Cyberjaya since 1997 was RM35bil. However, for 2013, the total investment is now worth RM11.07bil.
On Cyberjaya five years from now, Faris said Cyberview would work towards creating an innovative, well-planned and lively community with sound management and strong ties within the community.
“Close collaboration between stakeholders is needed to create this,” he said, adding that efforts made should be with the overall objective that Cyberjaya was in the forefront.
Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd SHSB, which is jointly owned by established property developers Emkay Group and UEM Sunrise Bhd, is the master developer of Cyberjaya.
SHSB executive director Lao Chok Keang said one of the main responsibilities of SHSB was to ensure that Cyberjaya was well-planned and developed with the proper infrastructure and amenities.
“Apart from selling land parcels, SHSB undertakes property development such as commercial and residential developments encompassing office buildings, retail space and apartment suites to meet the market demand,” he said.
Lao said what makes Cyberjaya special in terms of property development was its strategic location adjacent to Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre, apart from accessibility to KLIA and the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
“Cyberjaya is unique. Being the hub of MSC Malaysia, it is a new city that is well-planned with high-speed Internet connectivity.
“With the well-designed residential developments in place, it is definitely an area which will grow in years to come,” said Lao, adding that vast tracks of land were available for high impact companies to expand their business in the city, hence further creating more job opportunities.
Commenting on commercial properties, Lao said retail and office lots have also recorded excellent results in sales such as its CBD Perdana 2, which is 100% sold out.
He said spurred by the rapid progress of development in Cyberjaya, SHSB launched its CBD Perdana 3 in the first quarter of 2012.
“Most investors who made their foray into Cyberjaya have reaped fantastic returns, with some in excess of 10% per annum return on investment,” said Lao, adding that with all the above in place, the property development prospects are set to reach greater heights.
In five years to come, Lao said most of the major developments will be complemented by entertainment centres, recreational parks and other amenities in anticipation of the increasing population.
On its future projects, he said these include CBD Perdana 3 with a built-up area of 1.6 million sq ft of net usable commercial and retail space, Ceria Residences (150 units of double storey terrace house with indicative price from RM550,000 and 350 units of condominium worth RM400,000 per unit), Apex Residence (16 units of luxury bungalows and 104 units of high end condominium) and an intergrated commercial development on a 8ha plot of land located in the western part of Cyberjaya, among others.
Lao said apart from Cyberjaya being a well-planned city, one should consider investing in properties here due to its strategic location as well as accessibility.
“The 16 established property developers are vying to invest more than RM20bil in Cyberjaya by 2016. There will be more than 28,000 residential units with an expected population of 100,000,” he added.
Commenting on the escalating prices of properties, Lao said this was driven by various factors, which include inflation, increase in building costs, land costs, shortage of labour and demand and supply issues.
He said compared to other townships such as Subang, Petaling Jaya and Puchong, SHSB’s properties were priced competitively.
“As the master developer, we are not just building properties to sell, but we also manage the soft infrastructure such as to help grow and attract talents into Cyberjaya. This is viewed as a crucial factor, as only with the existence of these talents, more companies will set up businesses here.
“This is done through talent development programmes in collaboration with local universities to create a high intellectual population into the city in the next few years,” he added.