AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Bigger, and better? The new shopping malls in KL

They are huge, they are big and just dramatically setting new standards – I am talking about the new malls in Kuala Lumpur. One is Ikea from Sweden, which is more located at the outskirts of the city. Opposite of Tesco supermarket, another huge mall from the UK, which is in heavy competition with Carrefour – located downtown in Megamall. Now I wrote about so many new developments in KL at once, and I am already lost in my thoughts.

The other mall, called Times Square, right in the middle of the town, was developed by the conglomerate Berjaya Group, officially opened yesterday. Both, Ikea and Times Square have well lit parking lots – Ikea’s is bright like the daylight. Probably a result of the brutal rape and murder of Conny Ong, which was kidnapped in a dark parking lot, and where there were hardly security forces around. The case caused quite a stir in Malaysia and many people asked for better protection in currently quite unsecured parking lots.

As a result, well, something improved and I like it.

Ikea is huge, two stories and a lot of staff. But what I wanted to right about is Time Square, also nice. But I see several problems here. First, there are many other shopping malls around, so there could be a huge cannibalisation process. But let the fittest win. In the new mall, there are so many different shops, mostly smaller and consisting of so far unknown brands in the Malaysian market. Difficult, and they need to develop some image, some awareness. As such, they might not compete against the established malls since those have the usual and pretty "normal and common" outlets, or a unique position. I am talking about Sungai Wang, and its position as IT center, or Lot 10 and KLCC (a bit further away) as a shopping heaven. But then, nobody knows to whom the new shops in Times Square cater. To the rich and famous? To the middle income class? Or lower class? I believe that they try to capture a higher income audience, based on the design of Times Square. But I don't know myself. Additionally, they have an in-door entertainment park in form of a roller coaster. A real WoW. McDonalds, as usual, and showing its expertise in property managment (McD is NOT in the food business, but in the real estate business, do you know that?). Just aside the roller coaster - packed with people, watching it. While this location is aside the main part of the shopping mall, you see a lot of "hang-outs". So the issue is that there will be a lot of people just coming to see the fun part of the mall - the challenge for the shops is it to direct some of the traffic into their own premises. Not an easy task, since many of the shops are a bit away from the invisible line that seperates the fun part of the mall from the commercial section.

Another, and probably HUGE problem is the management of the traffic. Okay, their parking lot is huge, just like the mall. But the mall is located in an area called Bukit Bintang - and as everybody knows who travesl there from time to time, this is a traffice challenged area, so to speak And to put a mall like this just into the middle - WoW. If a similar thing happened as happened to MegaMall - which has tremendous traffic jams leading up to their parking lots - I will be one, who won't be a frequent visitor, as sad as it is.


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