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Monday, December 29, 2008

Nomad seeks stronger foothold in Philipines

KUALA LUMPUR: The Nomad Group Bhd, the largest serviced office provider in Kuala Lumpur, plans to open its latest office in the Philippines by the first quarter of next year.

Chief executive officer Hew Thin Chay said the group had already shortlisted two buildings in the central business district of Manila to set up its office.

“There is good demand for serviced offices in Manila but we are still waiting for the (rental) rates to improve,” he told StarBiz.

The company would be investing about RM4mil in the office, he said, adding that he expected a return on investment in the second year of operations.

The offices, he said, were targeted at travelling entrepreneurs and enterprises.

“The typical serviced office business generally takes about a year to mature. After that period, and once people know where you are located, that is when you start seeing stable returns.

“We always tell our shareholders that this is a long-term business, that the first year of operating a serviced office is not the time when we see business growth,” he said.

The office in Manila is part of the group’s strategy to establish a firm presence in the Asean region. It currently operates offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and, most recently, Thailand.

Hew said the group would also be opening a second office in Indonesia, and it had also considered Cambodia and Laos but nothing had been finalised yet.

“We are comfortable with our presence in Asean currently and want to venture further into Asia.”

He also said the group was planning to make in-roads into Hong Kong and Taiwan next year. “We are certain about (opening an office in) Hong Kong next year. In Taiwan, we are still waiting for the political situation to stabilise,” he said.

By having an office in either Hong Kong or Taiwan, Hew said the group would be able to fast track its business into China.

On the local front, the group operates six serviced offices. Hew said the offices offered fully furnished and unfurnished office suites, virtual office, meeting rooms, business lounge and video conferencing facilities, in addition to office-support services.

He said Nomad was looking at setting up an office in Penang but had yet to find “good office space.”

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

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