BaijiayanMount Yuntai is part of UNESCO World Geopark and the location of the integrated tourist township that The Place Holdings will develop.
Photo: Mount Yuntai official website

Ratified by UNESCO as a Global Geopark in 2004, Mount Yuntai each year attracts tourists (5.56 million in 2017) to its breath-taking natural landscapes, picturesque waterfalls and precipitous gorges.

With about 280 sq km open to tourists, Mount Yuntai was also designated as a "5A" scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration, an accolade reserved for the most culturally significant and best-maintained tourist attractions.

SGX Mainboard-listed The Place Holdings -- formerly Eucon Holdings -- will be developing its tourism project at Mount Yuntai.

The Place Holdings is backed by the key management team of The Place Investment Group, a multi-billion-dollar PRC conglomerate renowned for its extensive businesses in tourism, media, property management, bio-medical technology investments and international trade.

NextInsight spoke with the CEO of The Place Holdings, Mr Fan Xianyong, 53, to find out how the strengths and strategies of The Place Investment Group can translate into sustainable growth for the Singapore listed entity.



"Since its founding in 1990, The Place Investment Group has been constantly innovating and upending the status quo. Under the leadership of our Chairman, Mr Ji Zenghe, over the past three decades, the Group has made significant strides in leaving its mark on China's cityscapes, tourist destinations and consumer lifestyle retail scene," said Mr Fan, the CEO. 

The Place Investment Group
 Total Assets
RMB 23 billion
 Staff Strength
3,000

With cultural tourism development projects as its core business, the Group is a diversified investment and management company that integrates tourism, media, business operations, property management, medical technology and international trade etc.

To date, the Group has total assets of RMB 23 billion and around 3,000 employees. 

Industry milestone for high-rise residential buildings

Although the Group completed the development of the Global Trade Mansion (GTM) in 2000, the GTM is still highly sought after and lauded as one of the best condominiums available in Beijing.

"We had set an industry milestone then by raising the height restriction for long-span buildings from 13 to 30 storeys. This was accomplished through regular and frequent consultation with the authorities and industry experts to resolve any technical issues and regulatory challenges," said Mr Fan. 

The Place Investment Group received the Gold Award at ‘Innovation Storm’, a National Residential Design Competition organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the PRC.

Sky Screen - Asia's Largest LED Screen

The Place Mall LED screenThe Place Investment Group is best known for developing The Place Shopping Mall in Beijing's central business district. The mall boasts the largest LED screen in Asia. Photo: Company
"When we launched The Place Shopping Mall in 2004, it became a Beijing landmark and household name associated with innovation, trendiness and experiential retail," said Mr Fan.

Prolific Hollywood production designer, Jeremy Railton who is an Oscar winner and four-time Emmy award winner, shared his thoughts behind his design of the Skyscreen:

"The Skyscreen is a bold business concept inspired by contemporary times and a reflection of Asia’s meteoric rise.

The Skyscreen uses state-of-the-art technology and is far more advanced than the Skyscreen located at the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas. From a technical standpoint, The Place Shopping Mall’s Skyscreen is the first of its kind.”

“After The Place Shopping Mall was launched, many malls used our concept of an experiential mall as the de facto strategy for attracting shopper footfall.”

-- Fan Xianyong, 
CEO, The Place Holdings

The Skyscreen at The Place Shopping Mall is the largest LED screen in Asia. It is a world-class attraction drawing in fashion-conscious crowds with its dazzling display of multi-colored lights to the sound of lively tunes that light up the entire commercial street.

In addition to the hundreds of merchant brands attracting millions of visitors every year, The Place Shopping Mall is also the venue of choice for hosting large-scale events.

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, The Place Shopping Mall was the only privately-owned commercial retail space to be officially awarded an Olympic Cultural Square designation.


Singapore a base for regional expansion

"We intend to bring our innovative edge and high-quality resources into the Singapore market to facilitate our expansion into Southeast Asia. Singapore will be our regional headquarters,” said Mr Fan.

In 2016, after taking over control of SGX-listed Eucon Holding Limited through a cash subscription, the Group was renamed The Place Holdings Limited.

Expansion plans for the listed entity

Yuntaishan Tourists 1Tourists at Mount Yuntai. Photo: Company

The Place Investment Group is in the midst of planning for its Mount Yuntai project, some of which have already been executed.

"I am confident that our integrated and innovative tourism project will be China’s top tourist destination on its completion. This project covers a large area of land, offers a wide range of services, leverages on new technologies and is aligned with the latest trends," said Mr Fan.

Mt Yuntai Artist ImpressionArtist's impression of villas at the proposed township on Mount Yuntai.


The team responsible for the project aims to live up to its reputation for continuous innovation and introduce better designs and more services to the project.

"Collaboration with global leaders in entertainment design and theme park operations will enhance our value creation capabilities to offer world-class services.

Stock price

4 c

52-week
range

2 – 6 c

PE (ttm)

-

Market cap

S$205.8 m

Shares outstanding

5.88 b

Dividend 
yield 
(ttm)

--

1-year return

9.4%

Source: Bloomberg

“Our Mount Yuntai project’s business model addresses the pain points of scenic tourism market and could potentially serve as a blueprint for the development of cultural tourism in China and even Asia.

"To ensure the Singapore listed entity’s sustainable development, we intend to inject a component of the Mount Yuntai project which will be its first good project – being Tianjie Yuntai Wanrun (Xiuwu) Property Development Co., Ltd.," said Mr Fan.

"As the listed company grows, other entertainment projects such as a water world theme park will gradually be injected into it. There are also plans for the listed company to develop other innovative cultural tourism projects," he said.

“We have put in place an innovative team and will inject high-quality projects into the listed company to demonstrate our commitment to foster mutually beneficial relationships while at the same time creating value for our Singapore-based stakeholders.”


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