Chinese-built skyscrapers sprout across Southeast Asia
Malaysian and Indonesian capitals commission skyscrapers to be built by state-owned Chinese construction firms
Exchange 106 is the latest addition to Kuala Lumpur’s ever-rising skyline. At 106 stories and 462 meters, it almost dwarfs the city’s other prestigious landmarks including the Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower.
Its main contractor China State Construction Engineering Corporation took less than three years from the pouring of foundations in May 2016 to the tower’s topping-out this year, just half the average time needed for erecting a tower of this height and scale.
Construction also broke local records, requiring less than three days to add every new floor to the tower.
The tallest skyscraper in Malaysia, which is also the first ever building in Southeast Asia to have more than 100 stories and the 15th-tallest worldwide, is slated to open its doors to tenants and tourists by the end of the year.
Incorporating prime office space, a boutique hotel and an upscale mall, the skyscraper dominates Kuala Lumpur’s skyline and adds an exclamation mark to the capital city’s new financial district.
Cao Peng, Exchange 106 project manager with China State Construction Engineering, told the People’s Daily that the minimalist, glass-curtained tower with an illuminated crown could become a signature project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative for Malaysia as well as all of Southeast Asia.
As the tallest building constructed by a Chinese contractor outside its home country, the project boosted exports of China-made steel frames, concrete pumps, booms and cranes to Malaysia, according to Cao.
Yet the tower’s swift rise was hit by multiple allegations of misappropriation and corruption, just as it was about to eclipse the Petronas Twin Towers last year.
The scandal-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the nation’s sovereign fund and the major developer of the entire plot, was marred in financial woes and unable to continue to fund the construction.
The project would have been aborted had it not been for a standby line of credit from HSBC as well as the lifeline thrown by the Chinese contractor, which reportedly agreed to accept payments in installments.
Just a few blocks away, a 77-story hotel project is also set to compete for attention with the neighboring Petronas Twin Towers.
The 342.5-meter Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur overlooks KLCC Park and is directly connected to the esplanade. It had its grand opening in June.
The project, developed by Venus Assets with China Railway Construction Corp as the main contractor, is estimated to have a gross development value of 3 billion ringgit (US$700.4 million) and incorporates 242 Four Seasons Private Residences, 27 serviced apartments, a 209-key Four Seasons hotel and a five-floor, 27,900-square-meter luxury retail podium.
Meanwhile, yet another state-owned Chinese contractor, China Communications Construction, will also build a high-rise office block on a nearby plot for the conglomerate’s use as its Southeast Asian hub.
In Indonesia, a subsidiary of China Construction Engineering is also revving up the construction of the 303-meter, US$300 million Indonesia 1 Twin Tower complex in Jakarta.
The company has also been appointed to construct the 638-meter Signature Tower Jakarta in November 2017, with estimated completion in 2022.
The skyscraper is a part of a 45-hectare redevelopment project within the Golden Triangle of Jakarta.