Forest City is located in the center of ASEAN which is the world’s seventh largest economy bloc , as its GDP – which is steadily increasing and surpassed US$2.5 trillion in the year 2016. With an estimated number of people of 600million that is more than the European Union or North America, ASEAN presents a massive market opportunity. Additionally, ASEAN has the world’s third largest population of young people, following China and India around 60% of the population is younger than 35 years old
The forest city location is most advantageous within the Iskandar special economic zone (SEZ). Located at the southernmost tip of Peninsular Malaysia and next to Singapore, Iskandar SEZ was established under the Economic Transformation Plan of the Malaysian government in 2006. With the size of three Singapores, Iskandar SEZ is the only SEZ invested by both Singapore and Malaysia governments with US$90 billion. Iskandar SEZ has arisen as the new focal point for global capital investment and Malaysia’s fastest-growing economic corridor, blessed with abundant natural resources, attractive government incentives, and the strategic location to capture the entire ASEAN market.
To establish itself as Malaysia’s center of tourism, creative, information technology, and logistics, Iskandar SEZ has been actively courting foreign investment. Iskandar SEZ will invest US$100 billion to build a world-class economic development infrastructure. The SEZ already boasts various educational, recreational and retail facilities including EduCity, Legoland, Hello Kitty land, Angry Bird club, Medini shopping center, hotels under the Shangri-La group, Pinewoods Studio, MMU Film and Art School. Conglomerates such as Temasek Holdings, Alibaba, Xiaomi, Maersk Line and Columbia Hospital have also established their presence in Iskandar, while Sunway group plans to build two more theme parks. The total GDP of Iskandar SEZ will exceed US$93.3 billion in 2025. Forest City is well-placed and well-poised to be an integral part of this broader growth trajectory.
Forest City strives to form a symbiotic relationship with Singapore. With close proximity to Singapore and abundant incentives offered by both governments in Singapore and Malaysia, the Iskandar Special Economic Zone has easily become the best destination for Singapore-based corporations pressed to expand. Since its establishment, Iskandar has attracted a total investment of more than US$3 billion from Singapore. Singapore-based companies expanding or relocating to Iskandar are entitled to enjoy incentives offered by Singapore government agency – International Enterprise (IE) Singapore – including: Internationalization Finance Scheme, Loan Insurance Scheme and Trade Credit Insurance Scheme, and Political Risk Insurance Scheme, just to name a few.
The region also has an increasing middle class with a projected consumption capacity to increase by US$1.5 trillion by 2015, to US$2 trillion by 2020, which is more than the level of India and possibly even China’s coast region. The increasing population and resultant increase in the demand for consumption will create massive demand for infrastructure and will create new business opportunities and markets.