Thomson Plaza

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Coordinates: 1°21′16.95″N103°49′51.37″E / 1.3547083°N 103.8309361°E / 1.3547083; 103.8309361

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Thomson Plaza
Location Upper Thomson Road, Singapore
Address 301 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574408
Opening date 1979
Developer DBS Land
Management Knight Frank Asset Management Pte Ltd
Owner Mercatus Co-operative Limited
No. of stores and services 154
Total retail floor area 467,298 square feet (43,413.4 m2)
No. of floors 4
Website Official website

Thomson Plaza, formerly unofficially called Thomson Yaohan , [1] is a suburban shopping mall located along Upper Thomson Road, Singapore. Opened in 1979, Thomson Plaza is best known for having a Yaohan departmental store in the 1980s and 1990s. [1]


Yaohan Co., LTD., or Yaohan was a Japanese retail group. The company was founded in 1930 by Ryohei Wada and incorporated in 1948. Initially a single shop, it later expanded into a major supermarket chain with most retail outlets located in Shizuoka prefecture, south of Tokyo. It was listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange. The store was far more established and notable outside Japan, due to restrictive laws in Japan that made it difficult to set up new businesses, such that by the time it opened its first store in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the company was already in a state of decline due to accumulated debts from over-expansion.

Shopping mall complex of shops

A shopping mall is a modern, chiefly North American, term for a form of shopping precinct or shopping center, in which one or more buildings form a complex of shops representing merchandisers with interconnecting walkways that enable customers to walk from unit to unit. A shopping arcade is a specific type of shopping precinct which is usually distinguished in English for mall shopping by the fact that connecting walkways are not owned by a single proprietor and are in open air. Shopping malls in 2017 accounted for 8% of retailing space in the United States.

Singapore Republic in Southeast Asia

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.


Thomson Plaza is built over 22,400 square metres (241,000 sq ft) of land and is relatively low-rise, in keeping with the neighbourhood around the Thomson area. [2]

Thomson Plaza is one of the first public buildings to be designed with barrier-free features from the onset. [3] In addition to the standard escalators, ramps were incorporated into the shopping complex's design to allow people in wheelchairs to freely navigate between different floors of the complex. [3] Other handicapped-friendly features in the complex include enlarged toilet cubicles that cater to wheelchair users and door levers, which enable people with difficulty controlling their hands to easily open doors around the complex. [3]

Escalator moving staircase

An escalator is a type of vertical transportation in the form of a moving staircase which carries people between floors of a building. It consists of a motor-driven chain of individually linked steps on a track which cycle on a pair of tracks which keep them horizontal.


The proposal to build a residential and recreational complex along Upper Thomson Road was first approved by the Ministry of National Development in 1977 as part of its policy of decentralizing commercial activities away from Singapore's Central Business District. [4] [5] The contract to build this complex was awarded to Japanese construction company Ohbayashi Gumi by Development Bank of Singapore, the appointed land developer for Thomson Plaza. [5] Initially estimated to cost SGD$22.3 million, [5] this project was completed eventually at a cost of $38 million in 1979. [2]

Ministry of National Development (Singapore)

The Ministry of National Development (Abbreviation: MND; Chinese: 国家发展部 Malay: Kementerian Pembangunan Negara; is a ministry of the Government of Singapore that directs the formulation and implementation of policies related to land-use planning and infrastructure development.

Obayashi Corporation kabushiki gaisha

Obayashi Corporation is one of five major Japanese construction companies along with Shimizu Corporation, Takenaka Corporation, Kajima Corporation, and Taisei Corporation. It is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is one of the Nikkei 225 corporations. Its headquarters are in Minato, Tokyo. In 2018, Obayashi was ranked 15th place on ENR's list of Top 250 Global Contractors, the highest rank among Japanese Contractors.

Even before its completion, Thomson Plaza attracted strong interest from retailers. [2] 80% of its retail outlets were leased out within 6 months of their launch. [2] Thomson Plaza later attracted the attention of Japanese retailer Yaohan, the pioneer of one-stop departmental stores in Singapore. [6] [7] At that time, Yaohan was famous for its innovative approach to customer service; its first departmental store in Plaza Singapura reportedly attracted 955,000 shoppers a week. [7] Yaohan's store in Thomson Plaza became its third outlet in Singapore. [6]

Plaza Singapura

Plaza Singapura is a contemporary shopping mall located along Orchard Road, Singapore. The mall is managed by CapitaLand and owned by CapitaMall Trust. There are retail outlets over seven floors and two basements. The mall has a 752 lot seven-storey carpark at the rear of the building, and a two basement goods bay beneath it. The mall is popular with families, teenagers and young adults.

In 1997, the parent company of Yaohan stores in Singapore was declared insolvent due to its over-expansion and rising retail rental costs in Singapore. [7] Thus, Yaohan closed its Thomson Plaza outlet, its last in Singapore, in 1998. [7] Yaohan's former retail space was taken over by NTUC Fairprice supermarket chain. [8]

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  1. 1 2 "20 Singapore shopping malls that were super happening back in the day". Asia City Online. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Strong demand for Thomson Plaza shopping facilities". The Business Times . 27 January 1979. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 "$39 million Thomson Plaza will be a boon for handicapped". The Straits Times . 20 May 1977. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  4. "$490 mil projects given planning approval by ministry". The Straits Times . 17 September 1977. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "Japanese film to build Thomson Plaza". The Straits Times . 5 July 1977. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  6. 1 2 "A third Yaohan store". The Straits Times . 15 March 1978. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Yaohan (Singapore) on Singapore Infopedia". National Library Board, Singapore. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  8. "Fair Price moving into Thomson Plaza". The Straits Times . 31 December 1997.