Headline: `Hwan Young Hap Ni Da'
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Nov 24, 2007
Section heading: Property
Page number: 05
Byline / Author: By Zoe Phoon

TO the Koreans, Malaysia is like "Asia's America". They favour our multi-lingual, multi-cultural society and our great variety of foods.

They also have praise for our "developed" economy, with such modern conveniences as world-class infrastructure, medical facilities, shopping malls, hypermarkets and international schools; our political stability that makes their investments safe here; and our globalised outlook.

These, in a nutshell, draw Korean investments to Malaysian real estate, said Korean Press director and head of its property division John K.T. Kim. And the number is expected to escalate: He's looking at a "conservative estimate" of 50,000 to 70,000 Koreans living here by 2009, up from the present 30,000 comprising businesspeople, visitors, students, and expatriates with Korean multinational corporations, including Samsung, Hyundai, LG Electronics, Daewoo and Posko.

"I'm also surprised by the huge number of visitors - anything from 30,000 to 80,000 a day - to our website (www.koreanpress.net) property section, indicating their interest in coming here," Kim said.

He suggested the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme be promoted more aggressively to the Korean market than just via seminars. MM2H, he is certain, will attract many times more people from his country than the existing number of Korean MM2Hers.

"Investing in properties is a Korean culture. Many are looking overseas because Korean real estate is very expensive, which is due to the shortage of land.

"High-end condominiums, offices and shoplots in Kangnam, Jongro and Kangbuk in Seoul, the equivalents of the Mon't Kiara and Damansara locales in Kuala Lumpur, are priced from RM10,000psf to RM50,000psf for high-end properties, and up to RM100,000psf for the top-end," said Kim.

"Furthermore, the tax is very high for buyers of more than two properties in Korea, which is why many Koreans are investing in properties abroad. The United States is their top choice and Malaysia is second ... they usually buy en bloc, as in The Heritage serviced apartments at the Mines Resort City in Seri Kembangan, Selangor," said Kim.

More than that, he said the Koreans, who prefer Oriental and American architecture and design, have also joined hands with Malaysians: They design the property and do the interiors, while Malaysians build them, mostly condos, for security and convenience.

Among these is highrise residence D'Rapport, positioned as a global investment product being developed by Acmar International, which has been involved in city development projects in Malaysia for 70 years, and Korea's Menos 21. It's located near the Korean Embassy and opposite Great Eastern Mall in Jalan Ampang, KL.

Another project is a Korean collaboration with Sunway City Bhd to develop a precinct for the Korean community in Sunway South Quay in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya.

The Koreans, Kim added, generally prefer top-end condos priced from RM700,000 to RM1 million in KL's Ampang and Mont' Kiara areas, but an increasing number is also drawn to "new areas with good location, good roads and modern amenities", such as Selangor's Subang Jaya and Kota Damansara.


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