Is there any more relevance for IT malls? Or overall malls for that matter? There are 2 IT malls in Singapore in the past, now – is there one or two IT malls in Singapore left? Funan, which was closed in 2016 is now scheduled to be opened by June 2019, after a $560 million transformation to become an integrated lifestyle, arts and technology hub.

As stated in The Straits Times, the new Funan will be Singapore’s first “online and offline mall”, powered by an ecosystem of sensors, data analytics and facial recognition tools to better understand consumer shopping habits and preferences. Major tenants include Golden Village, FairPrice Finest and theatre company Wild Rice, and other notable ones include foldable bike brand Brompton Bicycle, a farm-to-table restaurant concept by Spa Esprit Group and gaming store GamePro, which will host eSports tournaments in a dedicated eSports zone in the mall.

So hence my question, is this an IT mall or not? IT hardware brands like Lenovo, Dell or even services such as the telco brands are not mentioned. If one looks at IT malls in Singapore and the region, they are stocked with enterprising and even one-man operators with innovative new products, overseas launched products, hands-on and on-the-spot services to deal with hardware emergencies and trading with pre-loved products and more. This creates an erratic, useful and transaction driven market place where both buyers and sellers beware.

This is the same for Sim Lim Square in Singapore, so even when online retailers like Lazada are peddling the both ends of the high to low end spectrum from gaming computers to chargers and USB fans at Sim Lim Square, there is an energy present for consumers to experience it directly and have immediate point of sales.

There are several iPhone repair counters at Sim Lim Square, in face one of them is more like a dozen of counters and provide same day repair services that you can witness. They even have 4.5 stars ranking on Google, thus to say the number of consumers that are physically present at Sim Lim Square to ensure their phones are repaired and not just “exchanged”.

But what about the “bad reputation” of Sim Lim Square? – However, it is buyers’ beware everywhere nowadays especially with far away online retailers. Hear it from the retailers themselves at this candid interview by Todayonline here as they speak the truth!

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“In a country of cookie-cutter shopping malls, Sim Lim Square stands out for its unusual mix of business savvy, questionable sales tactics, and colourful salesmen. In short, it has a personality. TODAY speaks to the people who work there to find out what keeps the place abuzz.”

Abuzz is definitely the word for Sim Lim Square as it attracts both locals and tourists from afar. Some interesting and unique shops include the Zeppelin & Co

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-where one can experience  amazing (and expensive) headphones while enjoying a great coffee and interaction with experts at the same time.

Sim Lim Square is definitely a place of discovery and a great touch point for brands that has a lot of product showcase. The sales people in Sim Lim also does not shy away from providing expert product demonstration such as at Zeppelin but also at camera shops where one road test and compare several different models. No wonder brands like Nikon and Canon have strong branding presence in this mall through outdoor advertising, effective and impactful billboards creating the iconic look for Sim Lim in Singapore.

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Exterior shot of Sim Lim Square. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Exterior shot of Sim Lim Square. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Sim Lim Square vendors are also in-line with major IT shows and offer the same discounts albeit at a less hectic pace than shopping at the shows. It has also integrated an e-shopping experience with apps such as Shopee so that you can reach Sim Lim retailers 24/7. It is truly an IT mall that offers technology products and services.

TPM Outdoor provides the Out of Home media and advertising solutions for clients in Sim Lim Square.