Hitachi Asia Ltd. (“Hitachi Asia”) and Frasers Property Limited (“Frasers Property”, and together with its group entities, the “Frasers Property Group”), announced on Oct 16 that Hitachi Asia and Frasers Property, through its subsidiary, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) involving an investment of up to S$50 million each to collaborate and drive digital transformation in the real estate industry in Asia Pacific over the next five years. The size of the addressable market for Asia Pacific, excluding Japan and China, is estimated to reach US$82 billion by 2025.
According to the MOU, which was signed in Bangkok, the two companies will explore opportunities to help accelerate digital transformation for the Frasers Property Group and the real estate industry, starting with Singapore, Thailand and Australia, and potentially co-develop and invest in new services.
Both companies have a common belief that technology and digital transformation will drive future business operating models and contribute to creating a better society. The technical and commercial teams in Hitachi Asia, the Frasers Property Group and Japanese financial institutions have been working closely to develop a new multi-generational approach to provide technology and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution for happiness and great experiences in the real estate industry.
Both parties will draw upon their strengths and resources to jointly explore ways to future-proof Frasers Property Group’s current property portfolio in a sustainable manner. This comes at the back of a project already initiated to look at the design of smart city services for facility management operational systems for the One Bangkok development, Thailand’s first fully integrated district that is built on people-centric principles and a focus on environmental sustainability and smart city living.
“We are excited to collaborate with Frasers Property and work with a partner who shares our belief in contributing to a sustainable society. Through Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business, we will draw on our operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) expertise to jointly develop new go-to-market solutions and improve the lives of people and happiness with Frasers Property,” said Mr. Kojin Nakakita, Vice President and Executive Officer, in charge of Regional Strategies (APAC), Hitachi, Ltd., Chairman of Hitachi Asia Ltd., and Chairman of Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd.
“The real estate industry is rapidly evolving. That means we must find ways to redefine the experiences of our customers. Today’s announcement represents the first of many collaborations we are exploring to help accelerate digital transformation for Frasers Property. We are delighted to collaborate with Hitachi and to share our real estate and local market knowledge and networks,” said Mr. Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Frasers Property Limited.
Hitachi’s mission is to “Contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products.” Under this mission, Hitachi is committed to its Social Innovation Business around “Powering Good”. By doing so, it will continue improving the quality of life and happiness for people and construct a sustainable society, in collaboration with customers and business partners and realize the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). It calls on Hitachi’s heritage, spirit of collaboration and its technology to do better for generations to come.
Led by its unifying belief, Experience Matters, the Frasers Property Group is evolving the way real estate operates. By seamlessly connecting people, it aims to make cities more accessible, make it easier for customers to do business, as well as delight residents, hospitality guests and retail shoppers. To this end, the Frasers Property Group finds its aspiration – to shape the future of real estate by redefining experiences and creating value for its customers. Importantly, the Frasers Property Group also aspires to be a leader in sustainability and is making progressive efforts to help create sustainable, inclusive communities.
Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, commenting on the inking of the MOU for digital transformation said, “the real estate industry is rapidly changing, and customers expect better experiences and turn-around-time when they purchase a property. This multi-million dollar partnership will further drive innovation for the benefit of customers.”
In keeping up with proptech revolution that is exploding everywhere, property agents “must upgrade or die”, said Mr Ho. He noted that many property agencies struggle to keep up with all the regulatory changes in the industry, as well as the changing financial calculations for acquiring a property. He urged property agents to master the basics in property financing, refinancing, taxation and CPF.
Mr Ho said that iCompareLoan.com runs a full 2 – 3 days course on how property agents can produce such reports for their customers. He added that the trademarked course teaches Property Agents how to generate complicated Financial calculations using – Home Loan Report (TM) – in 3 mins flat. This helps Property agents to close deals faster and serve customers more professionally.
Proptech is technology and real estate coming together to propel the real estate industry forward. The proptech ecosystem is flourishing now in many parts of the world, thanks in large part to ample venture capital, community efforts in local tech hubs, and an increasing realisation that there is a real need for innovation in the sector.
Proptech will have an impact on traditional business operating models. Whether this impact turns out to be positive or negative depends largely on how real estate players will use them to their advantage. These technologies are however still a long way away from replacing human judgment, touch, and ability to react to dynamic changes, which are all critical to the decision-making process.