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The arbiters of style

   
Starhill goes exclusive [ABDUL GHANI ISMAIL/THE EDGE]

The Edge Malaysia (Options), 18 July 2005

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BEHIND THE STORIES

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KLites are appreciating style these days. And Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corp Bhd, knows this. That is why he has an ambitious vision for the soon-to-be-unveiled Starhill Gallery.

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"Starhill Gallery is about choosing the arbiters of style," he says. And he has proved this by attracting brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Fendi to Starhill Gallery, brands which do not have a presence in any other mall in the country.

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"I select all the right people who will vote with their purse, passion and heart. It's not easy to have this convergence," he adds.

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But Starhill will not be like a typical mall it will have something special. The concept, Yeoh explains, is to maintain exclusivity. The people he wants to lure look for privacy and security without having to battle weekend crowds.

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"We don't want wannabes," Yeoh says, insisting that only the top guns will be assembled at Starhill Gallery. But why in Starhill and KL?

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"KL gains because of the lower currency value. The ringgit is pegged, so it's good for retailers," Yeoh explains. The lower currency value means that rental is lower and margins are therefore higher.

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"Rental here is peppercorn. Rental in Hong Kong is between RM250 and RM600 psf. Here, it's about RM40. It's good to be competitive with rent," he adds.

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Check out what Yeoh has done with Starhill Gallery in this week's issue of Options.





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