KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 16): Yong Tai Bhd has received backing from its new partners from China to resume development of its 100-acre land “Impression City” in Melaka, following a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement yesterday, the property developer said it has entered into a collaborative agreement with various parties including Opustique Infinity Ltd (OIL), Cheng Ho International Trade Centre and Culture City Centre Sdn Bhd (Chengho) and Oriental Impression City Development Sdn Bhd (Oriental), which would see the restart of the development of Impression City, which was affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections.

Under the agreement, Chengho and Oriental will collaborate with new investors and state-owned enterprises from China to invest and seek the requisite investment funds to finance the project development. 

This will help enhance Yong Tai’s vision to transform Melaka city into an international tourism hub.

Yong Tai chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Wira Boo Kuang Loon said the agreement is a sign of recovery for the property development business, and the group looks forward to expediting its flagship development in Melaka, with backings from its new partners in China.

“We are also excited that our vision of Impression City is in line with our partners from China, who have plans to build an 88-storey business tower that comprises Chinese business and cultural elements. This is in line with the Belt & Road Initiative to enhance cooperation between Melaka and China in terms of economy, tourism and culture,” he said.

Boo noted that initial discussions with the various Chinese partners suggest that interest in the group’s plan to transform Melaka city into an international tourism hub is strong.

“There has been a lot of interest in the Impression City project from our Chinese partners, even prior to the pandemic, as investors from China are attracted towards our Encore Melaka theatre concept, which focuses a lot on Chinese culture and heritage.

“Of course, some of these interests subsided due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted the tourism industry. However, with the gradual reopening of the economy, we are seeing a reignited interest among investors from China,” he said.

In addition, OIL, which has appointed Chengho and Oriental under the agreement, has identified with Melaka and Impression City, as the development is very much aligned with OIL’s initial plan.

According to Yong Tai, OIL has originated the idea and concept for a 108-storey EU-China Tower, which comprises China’s business and cultural element in the heart of London. However, due to the change of government and Brexit in the UK, the project was suspended, and OIL has decided to implement the idea in ASEAN instead.

Boo saidn despite the delay in the development of the Impression City project amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Yong Tai has remained committed to its vision to transform Melaka into a tourism hub and real estate hub, with its Impression City development.

“The group’s plan to transform Melaka into an international tourism and real estate hub remains intact, despite the delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the gradual reopening of the economy and tourism activity, we’re confident that our vision for Impression City will materialize. We look forward to better collaboration with our partners from China to help expedite the development of Impression City,” he said.

Shares of Yong Tai closed 4.55% or 1 sen lower to 21 sen yesterday, valuing the company at RM283.18 million. Year-to-date, the stock has dropped 32.26% from 31 sen on Jan 4.

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