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Saturday, February 26, 2011

I-Berhad, foreign partner to replicate Lotte World at i-City

SEOUL: I-Berhad, an integrated ICT-based developer, will partner a foreign firm to replicate South Korea's Lotte World at its multibillion-ringgit i-City development in Shah Alam, Selangor.

The idea is to earn new corporate tenants at i-City and improve the company's earnings, said I-Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Eu Hong Chew.

Lotte World, built by Korea's Lotte Group in 1989, comprises a hotel, mall, the world's largest indoor theme park, an outdoor amusement park and retails.

When asked if I-Berhad will partner Lotte or has had any discussions with the group, Eu declined to comment.
"We are looking at the Lotte World concept, an attraction within the city, to build up i-City. We are looking at other things," he said on the sidelines after visiting some of South Korea's major attractions this week.

I-Bhd is building up its tourism products at i-City to generate new income stream. Eu said I-Bhd targets to be profitable in the current year ending December 31 2011 driven by growth within all its three divisions, the newest being tourism.

I-Berhad also targets to generate 50 per cent income from property de-velopment, and 25 per cent each from property investment and tourism.

The company, which has been developing i-City since 2005, was able to break even in the last two financial years mainly because it sold and rented data centres with a combined 500,000 sq ft of space.

"We will be adding new attractions this year. The idea is not to make money from tourism but for it to complement our knowledge centre. We believe having certain tourism products and new ideas will attract multi-national firms and small and medium enterprises," Eu said.

For the nine months ended September 30 2010, I-Berhad posted a net loss of RM1.73 million on revenues of RM6.4 million.

I-Berhad is planning to invest RM10 million this year to equip its existing SnoWalk attraction at i-City with real snow fall.

On Wednesday, I-Berhad signed a strategic alliance agreement with BK Korea, a super snow machine manufacturer, in Seoul for exclusive rights to use the later's machines in Malaysia.

At the signing, Eu said the snow fall will attract more visitors to i-City. Currently, SnoWalk, which has been operating since last December, is attracting 90,000 visitors per week.

BK Korea will assemble the equipment in Seoul and ship them to i-City in March.

By Business Times

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