KUALA LUMPUR: A 15 year-old company can be considered quite young but for GuocoLand China Ltd (GLC), the property arm of the Hong Leong Group in China, it can boast of tremendous success during that short span of time.
The company, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last month in Shanghai, has won accolades after accolades, the recent one being for its US$2 billion (RM6 billion) Guoson Centre which won the best International Mixed-Use Development at the International Property Awards in London last November.
The achievement has set an important milestone for China as it is the first time one of its mixed-use project has been honoured the "Best International Mixed-Use Development" award in the 16 years since the awards' inception.
Early last year it won the category for the Asia Pacific region.
Although it may not have been easy for a foreign company to "settle down" in China, GCL persevered and grew by leaps and bounds to gain a firm footing in the country of 1.3 billion people.
Helmed by managing director Violet Lee, GCL is set to go bigger into an integrated development, from its early years of single projects when it first set foot in China.
Lee, a Singaporean, has lived in China for over 20 years and has some 10 years experience in the property sector.
During the anniversary celebration in Shanghai, Hong Leong group executive chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, the main guest-of-honour, was obviously proud of GCL's achievements.
"It is a significant milestone for us in China," he told Bernama in Shanghai when asked to describe the company's achievements.
Another guest-of-honour, Malaysia's Consul-General to Shanghai Hendy Assan congratulated the company on its success.
"We are proud of the achievements of GCL, which is a member of the Hong Leong Group, and wish the company all the best for its continued success," he said.
The company has a land bank of some 2.5 million sq m valued at US$3.5 billion across Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjin and Tianjin.
Noted as a transportation-hub specialist, when it was first established as the property arm of Hong Leong Group, the company subsequently extended beyond its core business in the real estate industry.
And now, it has also moved further into the realm of hotel and retail operations when it successfully launched its five-star Guoman Hotel Shanghai early last year and the Guoson mall in December, Hong Leong Group's first retail venture in China via GLC.
Meanwhile the spectacular US$80 million Guoman Hotel Shanghai was the "host" of GCL's 15th anniversary celebration.
The hotel is Hong Leong Group's first five-star hotel investment in China, with another equally spectacularly-designed Guoman Hotel Beijing, to be launched this year.
Lee said the Guoman Hotel Shanghai was a "true blue five-star standard hotel" where the design was drawn up from scratch.
There are plans for more Guoman hotels in China including in Nanjing and Tianjin. — Bernama
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