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Knowledge & Tips, Penang

About the new heart of Penang: the up-and-coming town of Bayan Lepas

06/09/2020
Penang Island is divided into two main districts – the Northeast District and the Southwest District.

The Northeast district covers the traditionally prestigious districts of George Town, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi as well as central hill ranges including Penang Hill – the tallest peak on Penang Island.

The Southwest District of Penang Island

In recent years, the Southwest District has been marked as the Penang state government’s major focus in its “Penang 2030” economic transformation plan with the goal of creating a green and smart island by improving infrastructure and amenities.

The Penang State Government's Business District Allocation

As shown in the map below:

  • Bayan Lepas is framed by a blue border marking it as a “New Business Cluster”
  • George Town is framed by a red border marking it as the “Central Business District”
  • Batu Ferringhi is framed by a purple border marking it as “Pantai Utara SA” translated as “North Beach Coast”

The town of Bayan Lepas - known as the "Silicon Valley of the East" - considered the new heart of Penang

Bayan Lepas is an up-and-coming town located in the Southwest District of Penang Island. It is the largest town within the district comprising 62% of the population. It is also where the Penang International Airport, the new Convention Centre, Penang Golf Club and the Bayan Lepas Special Economic Zone are found.

Special Economic Zone: The Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone

Created in 1972, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone is Malaysia’s first free-trade zone housing over 300 multinational engineering and high-tech firms with manufacturing facilities and assembly lines here at this bustling hub, including Tesla, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Intel, Dell etc. In fact, Penang’s renowned moniker of “Silicon Valley of the East” was taken after this zone, truly the lifeblood of this state’s economy.

The creation of the free trade zone ushered in a new age of industrialisation and rapid development for Bayan Lepas. It propelled the manufacturing sector to become the major contributors to Penang’s economy, generating 44.6% of Penang’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Due to the presence of multinational firms, Bayan Lepas has received great amounts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In 2019, Penang recorded FDIs of RM15 billion in the manufacturing sector, the largest in the country.

Before then, agriculture and rice farming in particular was the major economic activity of the district.

Business Process Outsourcing

In view of promoting a dynamic new economy on the island, the Penang state government has allocated investments to develop the Southwest District into becoming a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub – for global companies to contract non-primary activities to local third-party providers for services such as finance, human resource, procurement and IT support. Currently, the following Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC-status) infrastructure are being constructed, such as SUNTECH Tower and One Precinct. Numerous multinational firms including Celestica, Keyence and Zurich Insurance have already set up BPO centres as well.

The Penang Master Transport Plan – Introduction of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines

The Penang state government has invested RM46 billion to develop an integrated public transport network on both Penang Island and Wellesley. The transport plan involves constructing Light Rail Transit (LRT), monorail and tram networks, Bus Rail Transits (BRT), and an undersea tunnel. This will complement concurrent plans to improve existing road and highway networks. The goal is to improve travelling time for commuters in Penang.

The Bayan Lepas LRT line is the backbone of the Penang Master Transport Plan. It will be 30km in length with 27 stations running between the KOMTAR Tower in George Town passing by PICC (Penang International Commercial City), the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, the Penang International Airpot all the way to the future reclaimed islands in the south.

PICC (Penang International Commercial City)

The PICC (Penang International Commercial City) developed by Hunza Properties Group is positioned to be the new epicentre for commerce. It is a multi-billion Ringgit large-scale project built on 43-acres of freehold land at the new heart of Penang in Bayan Lepas. Upon completion, it will be Penang’s first smart city comprising of a lifestyle shopping mall, A-grade offices, five-star hotel, serviced apartments, medical centre, central park, F&B boulevard and residences – all components are integrated via covered pedestrian walkways and are directly connected to a future LRT station.

PICC is situated in a strategic location:

  • 5-min on foot to the future LRT station
  • 5-min on foot to the Penang Golf Club
  • 8-min on foot to the Convention Centre
  • 10-min drive to the Penang International Airport
  • 10-min drive to Penang Bridge
  • 25-min drive to George Town

PICC Tower will be a gleaming commercial building that crowns the development as a commercial hub. It will feature cutting-edge technology, comprehensive security and business facilities to become the new landmark for corporate headquarters and visionary companies in Penang. It offers a well-equipped hub designed for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). It is set to be the tallest commercial building in Penang.

Units are available for sale at the first residential phase, “Muze” at PICC.

PICC's Future Traffic Plan

Within PICC, the developer is implementing a comprehensive future traffic plan to ease traffic and to create unparalleled connectivity on the main road via constructing a 4-lane 2-way underpass (leading directly to the airport), a 2-lane directional flyover leading vehicles directly into the complex and a seamless LRT station access.

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