A less frequently talked about component of the Digital Free Trade Zone is KL Internet City (KLIC), a RM5 billion development meant to be a digital hub for global technology companies in Bandar Malaysia. However, due to uncertainties over the new government’s plans for Bandar Malaysia, KLIC’s master developer, Catcha Group Pte Ltd, has been looking for an alternative site.
“We have started discussions with a third party to build a smaller, interim KLIC on land owned by them,” Patrick Grove (picture), co-founder and CEO of the Catcha Group, tells The Edge in an email.
“We hope to begin construction on the site, which is strategically located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, in the near future.”
According to Grove, Catcha has been looking for an alternative site since the Ministry of Finance terminated a RM7.41 billion Bandar Malaysia deal signed with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd.
He says KLIC has already received “tremendous interest” from global internet companies. Catcha’s units, which include iflix, iCar Asia and Common Ground, are likely to establish a presence there.
According to KLIC’s website, Catcha aims to secure 1,000 internet-related companies and 25,000 tech professionals to take up its five million sq ft of space. The development is expected to be completed in 15 years.
“Regardless of who is the government of the day, we are as committed as ever to building KLIC. We hope to collaborate with the government to identify a new permanent site in the absence of Bandar Malaysia,” says Grove.
The success of KLIC will have significant implications for Catcha’s 43.75%-owned Rev Asia Bhd. After it sold Rev Asia Holdings Sdn Bhd to Media Prima Bhd in May last year, the company has yet to secure a core business.
Grove says plans for Rev Asia to be a key player in the digital economy have not changed. “When the time is right, we will find a way to involve [Rev Asia in] KLIC.”