AIA Rebuilding Headquarters Welcomes “Better" Xie Shirong: The ancestral industry does not sell
The AIA Building, No. 1 Stubbs Road, Wanchai, where the AIA (01299) Group Headquarters Office is located, has been in operation for 50 years since its entry in 1969 and will be demolished and rebuilt this year. Xie Shirong, a non-executive chairman of the AIA Group, who has witnessed the completion of the building and has spent many years in the building, said that it was “a pity" to dismantle the landmark building, but felt that its mission had been completed. The AIA business has grown steadily. The building floor is no longer suitable for application. It is necessary to rebuild a better building and “serve us for another half century."
Enable 50 years to complete the mission
Xie Shirong has decided to dismantle and rebuild. He said that the country has become better and better in the past 50 years. The business has expanded from six countries and regions to 18 markets in Asia. In the next 50 years, a better building can be built, for example, with green elements. It can save energy and be more advanced in technology. As the architectural design is still subject to government approval, the construction costs and other details are not yet announced. It is expected that the redevelopment period will be about 4 years and will be used by itself after completion.
The city’s AIA will sell the office buildings in Central and Wan Chai. Xie Shirong said that the culture of the Group for decades has not been sold. “After the completion of the Wan Chai Office, there is no consideration for selling Central (Office)."
As the head office, in addition to the chairman and chief executive officer working in the Central AIA Financial Center, the headquarters of Stubbs Road 1 and some employees of AIA Hong Kong (such as the MPF Department) will be about 900 people, which will be at the end of March this year. And in April, it moved to the newly rented Hopewell Center office.
Long-term appreciation of investment real estate
In recent years, many companies have moved eastward from Central and even moved to Kowloon. Has AIA considered selling the buildings in Stubbs Road? Xie Shirong reiterated that the group must have its own headquarters, not only in Hong Kong, but also in other markets. The headquarters property is owned as much as possible because it supports the group’s reputation, brand and sales. The Group has always been headquartered in Hong Kong. “The former Asian headquarters was in Hong Kong and the headquarters will remain in Hong Kong in the future." However, it will also consider increasing investment in other regions, such as owning properties in San Po Kong.
He explained that having a headquarters property can match the needs of its own business. For example, in the past, in order to cooperate with computer equipment, the design of the building must be high, and its own property can be controlled by itself. AIA develops in different markets and also hopes to participate in local investment and development. At the same time, it also needs to cooperate with the asset allocation of the insurance business. There are not many large-scale long-term investments. Investing in real estate usually has a good return on the long-term, and the headquarters property that AIA bought many years ago has increased in value. As of the end of June last year, its total value of properties held was $6.577 billion.
Xie Shirong believes that Central is always a financial center, and its role will not be diminished. However, it is recognized that the price of Central is becoming more and more expensive. It is a trend to develop in different places. The Group also develops in various aspects and does not concentrate on one place.
Commercial building east shift early first whip
AIA is a pioneer in commercial organizations that moves offices from Central to the east. Xie Shirong said with a smile, “Hong Kong will always be hard to find." AIA’s early headquarters was in AIA in Queen’s Road Central, but AIA’s founder CV Starr has a lot of opinions. It is expected that Hong Kong’s commercial center will not be Central alone in the future. Shift, so it was decided to build AIA’s new headquarters building in Stubbs Road in Wan Chai in 1967. In addition to the greater operational space of AIA, it also helped to drive the commercial building eastward. As it turns out, the commercial buildings are not only extended to Wan Chai, but even to Causeway Bay and beyond.