One feature of Sumitomo Corporation’s real estate business is that Sumitomo Corporation, despite being a general trading company, is similar to a large general real estate company in handling a full range of properties from offices and residences to retail facilities. It can also leverage the comprehensive capabilities characteristic of trading companies to offer operational management functions and solutions.
According to Hiroaki Murata, General Manager of the Retail Facilities Department, “We can proudly say that Terrace Mall Shonan is a flagship development completed by utilizing the full know-how of Sumitomo Corporation. It has garnered maximal attention this year, and I am convinced that visitors, tenants, and local residents will enjoy and this will help invigorate the city as a whole.”
“We hope to promote the “Terrace Mall” which Sumitomo Corporation has developed as a well-known brand for its high quality, and to keep preparing for the future development in both Japan and around the world.” (Murata)
A relationship of trust is critical to pursuing a major project such as Terrace Mall with a joint development partner. It was Takeshi Niki who undertook building this relationship.
“GIC chose Sumitomo Corporation as one of a joint development partner because GIC think highly of our solution capabilities and trust us. Nevertheless, we needed extraordinarily hard work to build this trusting relationship.” (Niki)
Considering that business customs and standard practices for developing/operating retail facilities differ between GIC’s experience in investing and managing retail businesses in other countries such as the UK, Italy, Australia, China and others and Japan, we had to examine Japanese business customs and standard practices in order to persuade GIC of the validity of each and every approach. “It was quite tough to prepare 20- to 30-page documents in both Japanese and English for each meeting held two or three times per month. As a consequence, however, we had learned more in-depth knowledge and been able to provide accurate answers to whatever GIC asked us.” (Niki)
This produced a solid relationship of trust and, as can be seen at present, Sumitomo Corporation and GIC became able to pursue projects closely attuned to each other’s requirements.
The network that Sumitomo Corporation has extended throughout the world will be a major strength in seeking overseas expansion. It may in fact not be too far off in the future that the Terrace Mall brand makes its overseas debut.
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