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KL Wellness City poised to become leading integrated wellness township in Southeast Asia

Tiew said the six-metre high retail suites of the said complex in the Nobel Healthcare Park offers the best investment opportunities for investors, buyers and stakeholders.

The KL Wellness City is poised to be the leading integrated wellness township in Southeast Asia offering medical facilities, retail services and modern residences which complement Malaysia’s booming medical tourism industry.

Located on a 10.7-hectare plot of land in the heart of Bukit Jalil, just 300 metres across Pavilion Bukit Jalil lifestyle mall and accessible through seven highways as well as LRT stations, the township offers independent living with wellness elements, serviced apartments (health and fitness-focused lifestyle residences), healthcare hub (lifestyle and healthcare retail with proposed top leading oncology centre).

In the first phase of the project, two main buildings are under construction and slated to be completed by end of 2025, namely the Nobel Healthcare Park and an international tertiary hospital, in which the former is touted to be the first facility in the region to offer a dedicated suite complex consisting of retail, medical, business and wellness suites.

According to KL Wellness City Sdn Bhd executive director (branding, sales and marketing) Datuk Seri Vincent Tiew, the six-metre high retail suites of the said complex in the Nobel Healthcare Park offers the best investment opportunities for investors, buyers and stakeholders.

He said this is especially since the benefits of adding wellness developments into one’s investment portfolios are manifold in an era of medical tourism and ageing population, stressing that property investments or type of asset class or investments should be focused in the right industry such as medical tourism.

Owning a retail suite at the complex, he said, is like owning a retail unit on the ground floor of a hospital.

“This is a golden opportunity because not everyone will have the chance to own a hospital ground floor shoplot which allows them to operate a range of business including food and beverage, pharmacy, convenience store and other essential goods and services,” he said in an interview with the media at Hilton Kota Kinabalu Hotel here Friday.

Similar to business models in Hong Kong and Singapore, he said they are also offering two blocks of private-owned medical suites, targeted at medical specialists and healthcare-related companies including those based in Sabah, where 75 per cent or 100 of the units have already been snapped up by specialist doctors in the first phase.

Tiew said the facilities at these medical suites will allow specialist doctors and healthcare entities such as pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to privately own the clinics, and among the benefits of ownership or practice of these suites is the ability to have a mini pharmacy in their own clinics to generate more revenue, allowing cash flow and financial planning for specialist doctors.

He said doctors can also build their own business legacy at the medical suites as they are able to expand their clinical service while also having an opportunity to operate the clinic with their partner which can provide more time flexibility and freedom to do other business and family commitments.

“They will also have the opportunity to corporatise practice as they can merge with a bigger group and monetise their clinic practice and enjoy capital markets such as initial public offering,” he elaborated.

As for the wellness suites, he said they are targeted at outstation or overseas patients who may travel with family members here for treatment by making visiting and tending to ill family members easy as the suites are not only spacious and come fully furnished but also provide cooking facilities.

He said among the suites’ key features is allowing patients to have peace of mind during the stay, adding that the building design and features are also patient-friendly and complied with the Ministry of Health guidelines.

“Most importantly, these wellness suites, which were carefully designed with wellness and healthcare elements, are a comfortable and convenient stay for patients who are recuperating from surgery and need follow-up visits to their doctors.

“They can also serve as living quarters for doctors and nurses working in KL Wellness City. We estimate that there will be more than 3,000 nurses at the hospital and up to 1,000 nurses at the medical centres,” he said.

He added that the wellness suites can also be made as homestay accommodations as the KL Wellness City hospitality team offers rental management services for the wellness suites owners.

“We offer an attractive profit sharing arrangement for the first two years – 80 per cent to the owner and 20 per cent to KL Wellness City.

“There will be 512 wellness suites to be specially built for the short-term stay of patients and their families, travellers, visitors and others,” he said.

Office space and business suites are also available at the Nobel Healthcare Park, while the MSC tier one office tower will be available for rent and targeted at MSC-status companies in the fields of health technology, healthcare-related technology applications, software development, robotics, pharmaceutical-related technologies and e-commerce.

Aside from the aforementioned suites, the ongoing KL Wellness City project will feature an international tertiary hospital offering state-of-the-art facility with 22 operating theatres and scalable up to 1,000 hospital beds, which in comparison is around four times more than the 200 hospital beds and six operating theatres available at Gleaneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital.

Tiew said this hospital is poised to be one of the top leading medical tourism hospitals in Southeast Asia, and they plan to construct more in the township to complement the country’s rapidly-growing tourism sector, citing a recent report by the Ministry of Health and the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council which foresees the number of medical tourists to Malaysia increasing even more from this year onwards.

“This is an international tertiary hospital. International means we will focus a lot on international patients aside from Malaysian ones as we must have the strength to go for international patients given international hospitals’ positioning is different.

“Tertiary means whatever kind of medical or surgical operation such as open heart or open brain operations can be done at the hospital through a higher standard of doctors and equipment.

“With the number and types and standard of medical equipment in the international tertiary hospital, we will be capable of handling all types of complicated operations in the world.

“Next to this hospital, we are planning to build another focused on oncology, which we expect to be the top oncology centre in Southeast Asia,” he said, adding that the hospital, which is 30 per cent completed, is expected to be launched in May 2 this year by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.

According to Tiew, a lot of the components in KL Wellness City are to support and sustain healthy living.

For example, those living in the township’s wellness suites who have dietary restrictions such as those afflicted with diabetes can order specialised food from the hospital next door through their mobile application and the hospital staff will send the food to their respective suites.

Concierge services are also provided at the township, where the residents and patients can request for the concierge to not only send them back and forth the hospital or medical centred with minimal charges but also remind them of upcoming doctor appointments or medicine pickups.

The whole township, which is around 20 times the size of Suria Sabah Shopping Mall here, will also be wheelchair-friendly.

“From the first day since the master plan was designed, KL Wellness City strives to provide an integrated ecosystem that addresses healthcare, wellness, medical needs and good lifestyle,” said Tiew.

He noted that prior to the pandemic, Malaysia secured a fantastic 1.3 million foreign medical tourists, and the expected influx of medical tourists to the country from 2024 onwards means the commercial and accommodation needs will be in high demand and will easily generate high yield.

The construction of the KL Wellness City township, he said, is purpose built and it benefits from the strong medical tourism industry.

“The compounded annual growth rate of medical tourism is 16.3 per cent between 2015 and 2019. This is promising as Malaysia is ranked number one globally in medical tourism.

“It also means that Malaysia and whichever countries that enjoy strong medical tourism and healthcare positioning will continue to enjoy double-digit growth,” he said.

Tiew opined Malaysia would be able to continue to be among the best medical healthcare providers in the world, especially given that medical fees and treatment in the country is one of the cheapest, even when compared to Singapore and Thailand.

He said Malaysia’s number and level of expertise is highly regarded in the world, with some of the country’s disciplines having better doctors than in the region while medical facilities and centres are also among the best.

“More than 30 per cent of specialist doctors in Singapore are from Malaysia. We will be able to continue to enhance and strengthen our position,” he said.

In addition, he highlighted that according to GWI reports, the global market for the wellness industry grew by an average of 22 per cent annually from 2017 to 2020, with the global wellness economy valued at US$4.9 trillion in 2019 and the market growth of the healthcare industry almost doubling two years after the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said as the country emerges from the pandemic, GWI predicts that the wellness economy will return to its robust growth through a projected 9.9 per cent average annual growth and the wellness economy expected to reach nearly US$7 trillion in 2025, adding that the wellness economy represented almost 5.1 per cent of global economic output in 2020.

“Wellness real estate has maintained the highest growth rate in the wellness economy both before and during the pandemic which had accelerated the growing understanding among consumers and the building industry about the critical role that external environments play in our physical and mental health and well-being.

“In addition, the country’s ageing population is expected to exceed 15 per cent by 2030, which poses a lot of good potentials and needs for healthcare and medical care for senior people living,” he said.

For the township, among others, he said that the wellness suites are projected to generate a gross yield of double-digit for investors.

He explained that it is known that Airbnb and short-term stay surrounding hospitals have high occupancy and high rental rates not only in the Klang Valley.

“This becomes a very attractive asset class for investors because of its price and as it is built adjoining the large-scale international tertiary hospital,” he said.

Tiew added that the hospital is funded by banks and its shareholders, in which the latter comprise of medical doctors, and they are aiming for an IPO listing in the years following its completion.

He said the hospital is a great investment choice considering the return of investment (ROI) for hospitals in general is at least 20 times higher when compared to the ROI for hotel investments.

“We are targeting RM6 billion ROI for the international tertiary hospital,” he said.

Tiew called on potential investors to put faith in the KL Wellness City project as it not only offers an attractive 3-in-1 investment opportunity in medical healthcare, wellness estate and medical tourism but can also help boost the country’s thriving medical tourism industry.

“I foresee another 20 great years of medical tourism revenue and good performance for Malaysia.

“We believe that with the presence and development of our international tertiary hospital, we will be able to help draw even more medical tourists from countries already coming to the country such as Indonesia,” he said.


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