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Global thought and industry leaders joined this year’s PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit to tackle the future of cities.

BANGKOK, Thailand – PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit (ARES), the thought leadership platform of PropertyGuru Group held its 9th edition featuring global thought and industry leaders, focusing on the theme of “Powering Communities” and how responsible leaders can build and improve the cities of tomorrow. 

ARES 2023 brought together more than 400 delegates from around the world, with approximately 40 speakers inciting thought-provoking discussions and conversations surrounding the future of communities, business, leisure and innovation. 

Hari Krishnan, PropertyGuru Group, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, delivering the Opening Keynote.

This year’s theme aligns with the Group’s vision to power communities to live, work and thrive in tomorrow’s cities. This vision was unpacked during the welcome keynote of PropertyGuru Group CEO & Managing Direct, Hari V. Krishnan, who mentioned that ARES 2023 was being held on the eve of the 16th anniversary of PropertyGuru Group’s inception as a company.

As a responsible market leader, we strive towards empowering everyone in their property journey to make confident property decisions through relevant content, actionable insights, and world-class service. From enabling homebuyers find and finance their dream homes, to helping expats find suitable accommodations, to supporting our enterprise clients make the right investments, to sharing authentic first party data with banks and valuers and to providing meaningful information to policymakers, we are there with each stakeholder, guiding them at every step of their way,” commented Hari. 

Sumana Rajarethnam, Director, South-East Asia, Economist Intelligence Corporate Network.

The first segment of ARES 2023 entitled “Live: Future of Communities”, continued with a keynote address on new economic drivers and the outlook for Asia in 2024 from Sumana Rajarethnam, Director, South-East Asia, Economist Intelligence Corporate Network. The segment also featured a keynote from Kenya-based Dr. Edlam Abera Yemeru, Chief of Knowledge and Innovation Branch at UN-habitat, on adoptive communities and the creation of SDG Cities. This is followed by an International Keynote on rethinking buildings and the concept of the one-storey city delivered by David Gissen, Author, Designer, Educator, Consultant / Professor of Architecture and Urban History at Parsons School of Design. 

Dr. Edlam Yemeru from UN-Habitat.

The second segment, “Work: Future of Business”, kicked off with Chelsea Perino, Managing Director, Global Marketing & Communications at The Executive Centre, delivering a talk on the creative evolution of workspaces and hybrid work arrangements. 

Wenhui Lim, Director, SPARK Architects; Jirayut “Topp” Srupsrisopa, Founder & Group CEO, Bitkub Capital Group Holdings; Prof. Jason Pomeroy, Founding Principal, Pomeroy Studio and Pomeroy Academy; and Manav Kamboj, Chief Technology Officer & Managing Director, Fintech, PropertyGuru Group.

The first panel discussion of the day was led by Manav Kamboj, Chief Technology Officer and Managing Director of Fintech at PropertyGuru Group. The tech panel discussed the use of A.I. in design, data, digital twins, and metaverse blockchain technologies, with speakers Kirayut “Topp” Srupsrisopa, Founder & Group CEO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., Ltd.; Prof. Jason Pomeroy, Founding Principal of Pomeroy Studio & Pomeroy Academy / Fellow of University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership; and Wenhui Lim, Director of Spark Architects. 

PropertyGuru For Business’ Shyn Yee Ho, Managing Director, Data and Software Solutions; and Jeremy Williams, Managing Director, Marketplaces, PropertyGuru Group.

Concluding the second segment and the morning sessions was a presentation from PropertyGuru For Business, showcasing the latest investments in data science to develop products and solutions for enterprise customers and partners in the Southeast Asian region. PropertyGuru Group’s Jeremy Williams, Managing Director, Marketplaces, and Shyn Yee Ho-Strangas, Managing Director, Data and Software Solutions, inaugurated the session and discussed unlocking value for businesses, followed by Dr. Nai Jia Lee, Head of Real Estate Intelligence, Digital and Software Solutions, who talked about urbanism and the liveability index. The presentation ended with Bob Koppes, Director of Strategies, who presented using payment and mobility data analytics.

The afternoon sessions opened the third segment of ARES 2023, titled “Thrive: Future of Leisure”, with a virtual presentation from Malaysia’s David Chong, COO of REHDA Institute, who talked about building affordability in megacities. The segment continued with panel discussions on destination dining; the rise of pet culture in urban areas; and demographic changes reshaping property markets. The panel speakers included Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, Senior Economic Advisor, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA); Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Former International Journalist (ex-Reuters); Christine Li, Head Research, Asia Pacific, Knight Frank; Colin Chee, Creator & Creative Director, Never Too Small; Didi Almeyda, Author, Former Journalist & Indonesia’s Animal Whisperer; Jessica Zafra, Award-winning Author, Journalist, Animal Welfare Advocate; Keiran Gibb, Founder and Director, Monogic; Michelle Martin, Broadcaster & Talk Show Host, Money FM 89.3; Pippa Woodhead, Head of Podcasts, Tigerhall; and the husband-and-wife team of Tanjira “Fay” Tragoolvongse, Owner & Manager, Cadence by Dan Bark / Caper by Dan Bark, and Chef Dan Bark, who was awarded the Michelin Star for Cadence just after six months of opening.

Andrea Savage, Co-CEO of A Life B Design, a renowned interior designer, and former HGTV Asia presenter, jointly delivered the Design Keynote on the universal language of spaces and transformative experiences with Cameron Richards, Founder & CEO of CPR Vision Management. 

As chairperson of ARES, Stephen Oehme, Value Management Specialist & Sustainability Advocate / Managing Director, Quantum, joined virtually via video feed from COP28 in Dubai to talk about the latest in sustainable development goals, inclusive approaches to development, and the decentralisation of cities.

ARES continues to be an inclusive and diverse event with half of the expert line-up comprising women and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community. ​This year, Shane Bhatla, Associate Director, Equal Asia Foundation, delivered the Expert Talk on inclusive language in real estate for minorities and people with disabilities, closing the third segment.

The final segment of the summit, “Thrive: The Future of Innovation”, opened with a keynote from India’s Vinu Daniel, Founder of Wallmakers. The climate-responsive architect, who was recently named as one of TIME100 Next and delivered a well-received TED2023 talk last April, was presented the PropertyGuru Visionary Award at ARES 2023 for his sustainable designs using mud and debris.

ARES Visionary of the Year awardee Ar. Vinu Daniel, Climate-Responsive Architect, TED Speaker & Founder of Wallmakers with Jules Kay, GM of PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards and Events.

Ar. Daniel told Property Report by PropertyGuru, the official magazine of the ARES 2023: “Construction is happening everywhere all the time. It would be great if we can share our knowledge.

Colin Chee, creator and founder of the popular web channel, Never Too Small, who won last year’s Visionary Award, returned to the ARES stage to present a case study on interior design that repurposes waste from construction and demolition sites. The case study included preview clips from his “Wonderful Waste” limited series. 

The fourth segment included The Leaders Panel discussion on multi-sector real estate, industry resilience, and challenges in sustainable development with Cyndy Tan Jarabata, President of TAJARA Leisure and Hospitality Group; Hang Dang, Managing Director of CBRE Vietnam; Rita Chow, Founder & Chief Business Officer at Sunshine PR (China); Stephen Pimbley, Founding Partner & Director of SPARK Architects; and moderator Marco Lobregat, Asia Editor, Bridges / International Director, Synergy Media Specialists. 

Ornpaka “Tong” Vudhikosit, Senior Industry Manager (Travel, Real Estate and eCommerce), Google Thailand.

Ornpaka (Tong) Vudhikosit, Senior Industry Manager (Travel, Real Estate, and eCommerce), Google Thailand, concluded the fourth segment with an expert talk on the future of digital innovation. 

Following the summit, distinguished participants and guests took part in the ARES VIP Cocktail Party: Celebration of Women, honouring industry leaders who embody the spirit of “live, work, thrive”. The 2023 ARES Power Women were: Andrea Savage, Co-CEO, A Life By Design; Chelsea Perino, Managing Director, Global Marketing & Communications, The Executive Centre; Coco Liu, Chief Regional Officer, Asia Pacific, HLB International; Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited / Chair, Corporate Advisory Board, World Green Building Council; Hang Dang, Managing Director, CBRE (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.; and Joanne Kua, Group CEO, KSK Group.

ARES 2023 was one of the anchor events of PropertyGuru Week attended by top executives and industry leaders in the region. The week started with Real Estate Leaders’ Roundtable on 6 December, hosted by PropertyGuru for Business; followed by ARES 2023 and the ARES VIP Cocktail Party on 7 December; and two exclusive galas on 8 December; the International Luncheon to present the country awards for China, Greater Niseko, and India, and the 18th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final, which drew country and regional winners from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, India, and Australia. The week closed with a private screening at Cinema Oasis Bangkok for “Wonderful Waste” by Never Too Small. 

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