Management Dialogue
Moses Leung: Teamwork Pays off at Hangzhou 171
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    The recent acquisition of a prime land site in Hangzhou marks a fresh success in the story of Hang Lung Properties. For this issue of Connections, Director – Development & Design Mr. Moses Leung gave an in-depth account of the transaction.


    The site, located in downtown Hangzhou, was sold to Hang Lung by auction on May 28 (Monday) for RMB10.7 billion and marks the ninth Mainland city to which the Company has extended its reach.


    Hang Lung wasn't the only company with eyes on the site. Other property developers, eager to claim the land for themselves, contended fiercely with Hang Lung at the auction. The result was a seven-hour slog of a sale with over 300 total bids. This, Moses said, was not entirely unexpected. "We thought that this site was very valuable. And just as we thought it was good, other people would too," he said.


    The Rewards of Victory

    The acquisition of the site was a major triumph for Hang Lung, and Moses and his team knew it. "We were extremely excited to have acquired the site, because the Company has been looking for a plot in Hangzhou for more than a decade," Moses said. He described the site as "ideal", and referred to the cost of the site as "very reasonable". "We expect (the site's) future income and return on investment to be appropriately high and that its long-term growth and development will be just as good, so we are confident in our investment," he said.


    In particular, Moses pointed to the site's location as its key selling point. "Wulin Square (the area of the site) is Hangzhou's best location," he said. "It's like Central in Hong Kong – we got a site at the very heart of Hangzhou… this is excellent for the Company's long-term prospects."


    A Collective Accomplishment

    The acquisition didn't just involve the Development & Design department, however. As Moses explained, the scope of the process demanded the collaboration of more than 40 colleagues from multiple departments, all working toward a common goal. "Because of the transaction size, we couldn't just press the button ourselves," he said. "We needed the Legal team as well as Internal Audit and C&C (Cost & Controls) all together to oversee the process." In addition, the auction was preceded by a comprehensive board paper, which required the attention of various departments. "We examined the challenges this project would face if we acquired the site: architectural, design, construction, financial, legal. We researched all these things alongside the other departments before we proceeded," said Moses.


    The fact that the auction was held online also presented a number of unique challenges. With this being Hang Lung's first online auction, and with billions of dollars at stake, the potential technical problems were at the forefront of everyone's minds. Moses highlighted the contributions of the IT department throughout the course of the auction: "They sent a lot of personnel to help, and they set up many failsafe measures in case anything went wrong. They did a very good job." Clearly, the acquisition was as much a triumph for Moses' team as for Hang Lung.


    A Good Building

    With the site secured, the Company now faces the challenge of building a high-quality commercial complex worthy of Hang Lung. A major part of this challenge will involve architectural design – laying out plans for a good building. But what exactly is a good building?


    Vitruvius, the famous Roman architect, once listed three qualities of such a building: it must be solid, it must be useful, and it must be beautiful. In his own list of architectural necessities, Moses, a registered architect, agreed with two of the three. "First, it should not be ugly," he said. "Second, it should suit our uses." His third requirement, however, was not solidity but rather memorability. "(The building) should leave an impression… the ones you can walk by and not remember are failures," he said. "I'd rather have people like or dislike (our projects), it's still better than people walking past and not knowing it's there."


    Fortunately, he notes, this is not a problem for Hang Lung. "A lot of people like our buildings – everywhere we go, people say our malls are special," he said. "You may never find malls like ours anywhere else."


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