UOB reaches out to young generation with stake in events venture

January 16, 2024
UOB, Asia's leading bank, recently unveiled its new business model in Thailand, opening UOB LIVE, a multipurpose event hall designed to align with the lifestyles of the younger generation.

At the open house press conference on Wednesday, UOB Thailand managing director and head of retail and brand Vira-anong Chiranakhorn Phutrakul said the state-of-the-art hall was a collaboration between The Mall Group and AEG, the world's leading sports and live entertainment company.

Boosting brand awareness

“We are the naming rights partner, which means the name of hall will carry our bank name. This will enable UOB to increase brand awareness among Thai and international consumers,” she said, emphasising that the bank was focusing on marketing collaboration rather than joint ventures. This kind of move, she said, happened after UOB learned of the unexpected response to Taylor Swift’s presale ticket world tour concert last year. UOB credit and debit card holders were the only ones who could purchase Swift’s concert tickets before they went on sale to the general public. This led to a massive boost in new customers worldwide. A surge in UOB credit and debit card applications was noted during the pre-sale of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran concerts, with a 26% increase compared to the previous month.

A new trend

Meanwhile, a recent UOB insight consumer behaviour report found that, following the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of people were willing to pay for a better experience or to create a memorable once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Vira-anong pointed out that this type of new lifestyle trend has “enlightened UOB to what the majority of consumers want, guiding the company’s strategy for getting closer to its customers“.

“We intend to be the most preferred retail bank in customers’ minds. As a result, it is our mission to find the right products and provide exclusive benefits to them so that they can live a better life,” she explained.

According to the partnership through UOB LIVE, UOB cardholders will receive special benefits in all aspects of the hall’s events, including early ticket pre-sales, free reserved parking space, fast track lanes, and exclusive meet and greet with their favourite artists.

Reaching out to younger generation

“This will be our initial model for approaching our customers, particularly the younger generation, who value memorable experiences and prioritise the digital life. If the model proves its worth, we will certainly implement it in other countries,” she said.

The bank aims to ensure that its customers not only enjoy premier entertainment but also experience the comfort and convenience that come with being a valued customer of UOB, she added.

A world-class venue

UOB LIVE is being designed as Bangkok’s new cutting-edge live entertainment venue, ushering in a new era of entertainment in Asia, according to Kriengsak Tantipiphop, CEO of EM District and chairman of the board of The EMLIVE Company and Bangkok Arena Company Limited.

He said the hall is equipped to host world-class concerts and events, including the sound power of a globally renowned audio system, the latest light and sound technology, a specially designed large-scale catwalk, cutting-edge safety systems, and a 6,000-capacity venue.

All of these features make UOB LIVE an ideal location for large-scale concerts, seminars, and exhibitions.

“With the potential of the three leading organisations behind UOB LIVE, we can establish a network of top entertainment business partners both domestically and internationally, fostering collaborations and bringing important concerts and events to Thailand. The goal is to position Thailand as Asia’s entertainment hub, with an initial target of 120-150 events in the first year,” he said.

The hall is currently fully booked this year, with international exhibitions and concerts accounting for 40% of the events.

The venue, located on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok’s downtown, is on the 6th floor of Emsphere shopping mall, which is operated by The Mall Group.

Grand opening

To usher in the new era of entertainment in Asia, Marshall Nu, chief operating officer of AEG Asia-Pacific, one of the partners, announced that the UOB LIVE venue would celebrate its grand opening with a specially tailored one-night-only concert produced and performed by international superstar Ed Sheeran on Sunday, February 11.

Adam Wilkes, president and CEO, AEG Asia Pacific, added that having an iconic artist like Ed Sheeran open the new 6,000-capacity UOB Live venue would be an unprecedented and historic moment for Thailand and Asia.

“It marks a celebration of our partnerships with The Mall Group and UOB and ushers in a new era for live entertainment. We look forward to bringing many more high-profile acts, performers and events to this unique venue,” he said.

According to UOB, tickets for “An Evening with Ed Sheeran” will only be available to UOB customers. Eligible card members can purchase tickets beginning January 17.

UOB is one of Asia’s leading banks. The company operates through its head office in Singapore and banking subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, with a global network of around 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.

UOB Thailand is a fully licenced commercial bank with 151 branches and 349 ATMs nationwide (as of December 31, 2022).

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