Singapore-based Japanese engineer wins S$1 million at Changi Airport

SINGAPORE. A 34-year-old Japanese civil engineer working in Singapore has emerged as the winner of the “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ grand draw, which took place yesterday (1 February) at Singapore Changi Airport.

Seiichiro Oiyama, who has been residing in Singapore with his family for the past one year, beat five other contestants – three from China, and one each from Egypt and Singapore – to become the fifth millionaire in the history of the competition.

Seiichiro Oiyama: newly minted millionaire thanks to Changi Airport Group

Organised by Changi Airport Group (CAG), “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ is hailed as Singapore’s biggest retail promotion. The fifth instalment of the airport’s annual anchor promotion was open for entries from May to October 2014, with one finalist drawn each month for participation in the grand draw. Mr Oiyama’s winning ticket into the finals was about S$80 (US$59) worth of chocolates purchased last July before flying to Hanoi for a business trip.

All six finalists gathered at the Departure Hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3 yesterday, where they participated in four rounds of games in front of an audience of about 500. Mr Oiyama and Mr Qin Peng from China made it into the deciding finale, where the lucky one to pick the correct finishing piece to complete a world map jigsaw puzzle would be crowned champion. With the game down to the last two pieces, Mr Oiyama picked the piece labelled number 12 – which turned out to be the perfect fit that completed the puzzle, triggering a shower of gold confetti and fanfare, pronouncing him the winner of the million-dollar (US$739,000) fortune.

An ecstatic Mr Oiyama was joined onstage by his wife and four-year-old son. He said: “It was very, very exciting. I chose number 12 because it is my son’s birthday. I had to close my eyes because I was so nervous. I didn’t imagine this could happen.” With this windfall, Mr Oiyama plans to bring his family on a trip to Mexico and to realise his dream of owning a black Porsche Cayenne.

Mr Oiyama joins the ranks of two Singaporeans, former deejay Ivan Rantung (2010) and business development director, Peh Hock Peng (2012); Australian engineer Jessica Down (2011); as well as Indonesian businessman Irvung Tio (2013), who have been made overnight millionaires through the “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ draw.

The other five finalists of the draw won S$5,000 (US$3,700) in cash, as well as a three-night stay at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, with airfare provided for the non-Singaporean participants.

The decisive moment when Mr Oiyama was declared the winner in the grand final
An ecstatic Mr Oiyama was joined on stage by his wife and four-year-old son, whose birthday proved to be the winning piece to the puzzle

Annual contest a key driver of retail performance

The 2014 “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ contest attracted 1.8 million lucky draw entries, more than double the number during its inaugural run in 2010. Passengers from more than 200 countries across the world participated in the 2014 draw, with the most number of entries coming from Singaporeans, Chinese nationals and Malaysians. Over the six-month period, more than 406,000 instant prizes were won – an average of 2,200 prizes a day – including the Apple iPad Air, Mont Blanc pen, GoPro Hero3+ camera, shopping vouchers, and travel accessories.

Significantly, the promotion contributed to a steady retail performance for CAG, with concession sales of more than S$2 billion (US$1.48 billion) in 2014. This was despite lower passenger traffic from China, a key market for the stores at Changi Airport.

CAG Executive Vice President Commercial Lim Peck Hoon commented: “We continue to be pleased with how “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ has been very effective in generating buzz and excitement among our shoppers, as well as providing our retailers with sales opportunities. Our retail business is of strategic importance to the air hub, for two reasons. Firstly, it is an integral part of the award-winning experience that our passengers enjoy and value at Changi Airport. And it is also a key revenue stream that goes into subsidising the cost of running the airport, enabling us to keep aeronautical charges competitive.”

In terms of sales contribution, Changi Airport’s top five customer groups for 2014 were from China, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and India. The most popular product categories include cosmetics and perfumes, chocolates and candies, electronics and equipment, luxury goods, as well as liquor and tobacco.

Accounting for about 20% of total sales at Changi Airport in 2014, Singaporeans are a key market segment for CAG. About 65% of the retail sales from Singaporeans are attributable to purchases made before departure, while the remaining 35% are from those made upon arrival. The top product categories purchased by Singaporeans are cosmetics and perfumes, luxury goods, and liquor and tobacco.

CAG will be running the sixth instalment of the “˜Be a Changi Millionaire’ Draw in 2015. More details will be unveiled in the coming months.

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