Chroy Changvar emerging as Phnom Penh property investment hotspot

Thu, 26 December 2013

8_Chroy-ChangvarInterest in Chroy Changvar is rebounding after a lull in buying and selling following this autumn’s election, local real estate experts said.

This interest is being kindled by the soon-to-be-completed bridge being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation next to the Japanese Friendship Bridge, as well as the widening of National Road No 6.

Khmer Real Estate president Kim Heang said there was a noticeable decline in property transactions in Chroy Changvar in the second half of this year, which disrupted a two-year trend of steady market activity, especially along National Road No 6.

“Property transactions in Chroy Changvar area did not increase in the last four or five months, but that hasn’t translated into lower land prices,” Kim said.

Land prices along the first 500 metres of National Road No 6 heading away from the Chroy Changvar Bridge are currently running between $1,200 and $1,500 per square metre, the next 500 metres are averaging $1,000 to $1,200 and the following 500 metres are priced between $700 and $900, Kim said. Demand and land prices are both likely to increase after the completion of the new bridge, he said.

Key Real Estate general manager Sorn Seap said that concerns about the kingdom’s political stability had depressed investor sentiment, leading to a slowdown in property deals across the Tonle Sap. The current bridge and road work, combined with the unique advantages offered by Chroy Changvar should drive future interest in the area, Sorn said.

“After expanding the road and the completion of the new Chroy Changvar bridge, which will be finished in mid-2014, the Chroy Changvar area will become one of the city’s high-potential investment destinations,” he said. “The area possesses good geographical features – it is located between two rivers, so the air is fresh and the view of central Phnom Penh is beautiful. There are many condominium, office and other residential projects planned for the area.

Bonna Realty Group general manager Seng Sopheak agreed that the potential of the Chroy Changvar area is high, noting the large number of existing and planned projects there.

“Land prices in the Chroy Changvar area have been rising steadily over the last couple of years,” Seng said. “Large plots between the bridges and Mekong Garden condominiums are running between $500 and $800 per square metre, while land for building flats costs between $800 and $1,000 per square metre.”Read Original text


YellowTree blossoming in Phnom Penh

Thu, 26 December 2013

5_-The-YellowTree-team-(left-to-right)-projects-manager-Phan-Vibol,-technical-manager-Pheng-Kimsour-and-general-manager-Bernie-DurkinThe head of local design and fit-out company YellowTree Interior thinks Phnom Penh is poised to see a boom in office rentals, as more and more international companies open up operations in the capital.

Bernie Durkin, YellowTree’s General Manager, said he’s optimistic about Phnom Penh’s office market, despite the recent increase in competition.

“It seems now that every other shop on Street 163 is a decoration shop, but in reality we know that there are probably about four or five other players in Phnom Penh that work at the top level, and they are our real competitors,” Durkin said.

YellowTree’s clients include FTB Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vattanac Properties, Qatar Airways, Coca-Cola, KPMG and Marks & Spencer.

Durkin said he and his team specialise mostly in corporate work. “We do offices mainly, also banks, some retail and we’ve dabbled in F&B,” he said. “We don’t do domestic – as ordinarily the scale isn’t big enough.”

Although there is quite a bit of office space coming online in the coming year, Durkin said he thinks demand for office space will remain steady into the future, especially for mid-sized organisations.

“Before, people were quite happy to be working out of villas and townhouses. At the moment, people say ‘oh, you can go to Vattanac Capital, Phnom Penh Tower, Canadia Tower, and very soon Aeon Mall’, however, not everyone can afford those rentals.”

Demand from bigger players for high-end interior design is poised to increase in the short-term, Durkin said.

“Vattanac Capital and Aeon Mall in particular, and also Hongkong Land, are going to be bringing in some big names, and they’ll expect only the highest standards from contractors.”

YellowTree, which has been operating in Cambodia for some 12 years now has a staff of 20, Durkin said they recruit only those willing to give their all to the job.

“Additionally, we utilise only the best sub-contractors that we’ve worked with for more than a decade,” he added. “We think we have one of the best outfits for gypsum work and probably the best carpenter in Phnom Penh, both integral parts of the fit-out business.”

Durkin puts the company’s success down to his team giving the clients exactly what they want.

“I’ve got a good team. Coming from a military background I find that having energetic and bright people is essential. As long as I have that, I’m quite happy. To me it’s mainly about quick response and reaction time – that’s why we are successful. Our work ethic is that all aspects of our work must be done in a timely manner, with no excuses, and we stand firm on that principle. If you don’t give the client what they want, they will simply go to another contractor.”

Durkin views Cambodia’s future with optimism and is especially impressed with the local talent pool’s drive and skills.

“It’s my own personal opinion that if the political situation remains reasonably stable, perhaps in 20 or 30 years, Cambodia could overtake Thailand,” he said.

“When I worked in Thailand, I had to learn to speak Thai to communicate with most of my staff. In Cambodia, there isn’t the same need to speak Khmer as the people here are more motivated and I think that gives this country a distinct advantage.

Khmers in the main show a greater willingness to progress and learn, which bodes well for the future.”Read Original text


Report: The time is now to invest in Phnom Penh’s condo market

Thu, 26 December 2013

2_Castle-De-Royal-is-the-only-luxury-condominium-project-scheduled-for-completion-in-2014A new report by financial services company SBI Royal Securities is taking a bullish view on the investment potential of Phnom Penh condominiums for high net-worth locals and residents or investors from overseas.

In the report, the Japan-based company’s Cambodian subsidiary examines the kingdom’s relatively low barriers to entry and substantial yields when compared with other Asian markets such as Hong Kong, China, India and Malaysia. It also projects that nearly complete development De Castle Royal will be the city’s star performer in terms of return on investment.

In terms of cost, prime real estate in major cities in Cambodia was at the more affordable end of the spectrum, averaging $3,200 per square metre, the same as Indonesia, and just slightly more expensive than Malaysia at $2,800 per square metre.

Unsurprisingly, prime real estate in Hong Kong is the most expensive in the region at $21,200 per square metre, nearly seven times as expensive as comparable property in Cambodia.

When looking at the gross rental yields for these same Asian markets, Cambodia’s investment advantage becomes clear. It currently offers yields of 5.3 per cent, slightly behind Indonesia and the Philippines at 7.1 percent and Thailand and Japan at 6.3 and 5.5 per cent, respectively. China and Hong Kong are offering rent yields of only 2.7 and 3.3 per cent, the report noted.

Such low costs and strong yields have driven increasing interest and investment in Cambodian residential property, especially condominiums. But this is still a relatively new phenomenon. SBI Royal Securities senior associate Leng Vandy said that a few recent but crucial market developments that have bolstered interest in condominiums in Cambodia, primarily Phnom Penh.

“A couple of years ago, there were only a few condominium projects in Phnom Penh,” Leng said.

“They were developed by foreign developers and were unpopular with Cambodians. But the situation has changed remarkably, with new projects being developed by foreign and local developers plus new laws allowing foreigners to have ownership rights over private units in co-owned buildings.”

Despite the attractive yields of condominiums in Phnom Penh, there is not much in the way of supply coming online in the coming year. The only luxury condominium development expected to be completed in 2014 is De Castle Royal, which will be ready for occupants in the second quarter.

The SBI Royal Securities report examined two investment scenarios for De Castle Royal. The first was calculated assuming 100 per cent cash down payment, the second assumed 30 per cent cash down payment with the remaining 70 per cent financed by a commercial bank at an annual interest rate of 10 per cent. Other important factors including rental rate, annual rental price, condominium price increase, occupancy rates and associated costs also figured into the two scenarios.

The results for both scenarios were well above the national average. The first scenario’s expected gross rental yield exceeded 10 per cent, with the second scenario’s predicted yield was nearly 30 per cent. Leng said solid fundamentals underpinned SBI’s assessment of De Castle Royal’s investment potential.

“De Castle Royal is located in BKK1, the prime residential area for high-net worth Cambodians and expatriates,” Leng said. “Currently the project is the only high-rise condo in BKK1 expected to complete soon. Other existing condominium projects are not located in central Phnom Penh and those currently under construction are years away from completion.”

Leng emphasized Canadia Bank’s financial backing of De Castle Royal as well as Korean developer Nuri D&C’s attention to detail and quality as additional factors for SBI’s high expectations for De Castle Royal. Condominiums in the development are currently selling for between $130,000 and $950,000 depending on size and amenities.

“High-class facilities, luxury high-end furnishings and excellent interior and exterior designs are of course key attractive elements of De Castle Royal,” he said.

All told, Leng said, the potential for De Castle Royal and Phnom Penh’s condominium market in general looks good in the short term especially when compared with the rest of the region, for both external and internal reasons.

“As ASEAN integration in 2015 comes closer, Cambodia is expecting a freer flow of capital goods and people among member states. Demand for condominiums by locals and foreigners is likely to continue to grow in the coming years. In terms of modern developments, the residential property market here is still in its infancy compared with other Asian markets like Thailand and Malaysia. The market’s lack of maturity offers unique opportunities for investors.”Read Original text


Interest growing in Phnom Penh Thmey

Thu, 19 December 2013

8_Phnom-Penh-Thmey’s-location-in-the-city’s-northwestDecades after it was designated a development zone by Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic government, the commune of Phnom Penh Thmey is attracting growing interest while prices push upward.

This commune in the city’s western Sen Sok district is viewed by many real estate experts in the capital as an up-and-coming part of town.

Asia Real Estate Cambodia managing director Po Eavkong said that good location and good infrastructure make Phnom Penh Thmey attractive to investors. Its original Khmer Republic development plan interrupted by war, the commune is now receiving much attention from municipal authorities, who are relocating offices there and putting in wide roads to access the large plots of land in the area.

“Recently the city administration has relocated to Phnom Penh Thmey and if the state authority moves its offices to an area, that means they will build infrastructure in that area,” he said.

“If you compare Phnom Penh Thmey commune with other suburbs on the outskirts of the city, Phnom Penh Thmey’s development is moving faster than the others,” he added. “The Phnom Penh Thmey area has many new residential areas popping up.”

One of these new developments will be built by New World Group and will be home to 5,000 apartments as well as a shopping mall and entertainment complex.

Bonna Realty Group general manager Noun Rithy said more urban development and improved infrastructure will attract more people to live in Phnom Penh Thmey. He noted that banks and international schools would add to the area’s appeal. Currently, land prices on main roads run from $400 to $1,200 per square metre. On smaller streets, prices range from $200 to $300 per square metre.

“Phnom Penh Thmey’s development is picking up quickly due to good infrastructure and its close proximity to Tuol Kork,” he said. “This year, land prices in Phnom Penh Thmey increased 50 per cent compared with 2012, while offices, banks, and schools have been moving in,” he said.

VTrust Group president and CEO Kuy Vat was less optimistic. He said the area faces strong competition from other developments on the city’s fringes in Meanchey district’s Prek Pra and Niroth communes as well as in western Phnom Penh.

“The area in Phnom Penh Thmey commune is not so attractive because it floods often and land prices there are higher than in other areas on the outskirts of the city,” he said.

Sen Sok district chief Ly Savet said the municipal government has a plan to develop the north and recently construction has begun on two drainage systems. A pump station will be built to transfer water into Kob Srov lake next year. By 2104, Phnom Penh Thmey and Street 598 (Chea Sophara Road) will not be flooded again, he said.

“The Phnom Penh Thmey area has more development than the other communes in Sen Sok district because this area has good roads and and sewage systems and is at north of the city, which does not have pollution at the same levels of the rest of the city,” he said. “I think medium- and high-income residents will move to this area more in the future because the infrastructure resembles Tuol Kok.”Read Original text


Phnom Penh’s property market: opportunity, risk and what to expect in the short term

Thu, 19 December 2013

4_Bobby-Peoples,-sales-director-at-Independent-Property-ServicesPhnom Penh’s property sector is experiencing unprecedented growth, offering both opportunities and challenges to foreign investors.
Navigating the market intelligently and avoiding potential risks is crucial to making a sound investment in this exciting environment. The Post sat down with Independent Property Services sales director Bobby Peoples to learn more about how to mitigate risks and where the market is headed.

What are the biggest misconceptions about purchasing Phnom Penh property as a foreigner?
Bobby Peoples: The biggest misconception is that people believe they can own any apartment in their own name. Its is true that if you buy a modern condominium that has a strata title you can own that in your own name, but for virtually all the other apartments, anything above the second floor, you still need to have, as a foreigner, 49 per cent ownership and 51 per cent under a Cambodian national’s name. That can be set up through using a nominee structure, or using a landholding company but it is important to seek independent legal advice through the likes of DFDL or Sciaroni & Associates. They’ll let you know that in order to thumbprint a vente definitive [transfer document] you need to be a Cambodian national. Currently that law isn’t really being enforced, this is the reason why you’ll meet people that have properties in their own name. Real estate agents will still tell you that you can. Transactions happen on a daily basis with foreigners selling to other foreigners, but in the future, should the Cambodian government begin to enforce that law, those people will be in a very difficult situation. The key thing is to seek independent advice.

Which countries are leading in terms of amount invested and impact on the market?
Peoples: The big countries currently investing in Cambodia are the South Koreans, who have been for probably the longest. They’re buying everything from residential property to commercial to large tracts of land. Also, the Chinese and the Japanese, as well as the Taiwanese. Additionally, many European countries are investing here, but to a lesser extent.

How does FDI in residential property compare with retail or office space?
Peoples: I think that in terms of the greatest amounts of money, it’s certainly within retail and office as well as industrial and agricultural land, but a higher number of transactions happen within residential.

Which parts of town are attracting the most FDI?
Peoples: To the west and the south of the city is where most of the development is going. Every time I drive there I see something new that’s being built. The centre of Phnom Penh is moving west as the city continues to develop. In BKK1 in particular, many villas are being bought and then either renovated or demolished to make way for new apartment buildings.

Chroy Changvar is also being developed quite heavily at the moment. With the introduction of the Chinese bridge over Tonle Sap, this will ease congestion. There will be development of the riverfront at Chroy Changvar as well, maybe not to the same extent, but it will create a similar riverfront across from the Riverside area. Over the next five to 10 years this area will become more developed, in terms of both commercial and residential property. The building of the Bellevue serviced apartments recently has also added to the profile of the area.

When purchasing a property, what are the most important things to consider?
Peoples: As a crude measurement look at the price per square metre and compare it with other properties that are on the market. You obviously want to make sure that you conduct due diligence, which includes checking that the owner is actually the person selling it, or checking if there are any complications with the property involving access or complications with a debt being connected to the property. Parking is also an important consideration. You need to check all those things before you actually commit to buying a property. Doing your homework to make sure that the property is as described is important.

What trends do you see defining the next year or two for foreign investment in Phnom Penh property?
Peoples: I think one of the trends is definitely the building of modern condominiums with strata titles, which now makes it easy for foreigners to invest in Cambodia and own property in their own name. That’s a really big development. The integration of Cambodia into the ASEAN economic community will strengthen investor confidence in the Kingdom.

Increasing sophistication in the market means that Phnom Penh is becoming more diverse culturally, which attracts more people. There’s more big business moving in than in the past, and we’re living in a more multicultural society which by definition draws in more people from other parts of the world to come here.

For more information about buying a property in Phnom Penh, Independent Property Services can be contacted at 077 959 861 or via www.independentpropertyservices.com.Read Original text


Vattanac Capital preparing for eventful 2014

Thu, 12 December 2013

4_Vattanac-Capital-Tower’s-spacious-luxury-retail-zone-is-nearing-completionPhnom Penh’s growing importance as a business destination has brought with it many opportunities and infused the market with a growing sense of ambition. Few developments embody this new ambition better than Vattanac Capital Tower, which will throw open its doors this spring.

“Cambodia’s seen nothing like it,” says Neil Brown, property services manager at Vattanac Capital Tower. As we strolled around the nearly finished building in hardhats, I had a chance to see why the building was awarded the best commercial property in Southeast Asia at the South East Asia Property Awards in Singapore last year.

Shaped like a dragon’s back and incorporating elements of fengshui and traditional Naga motifs, the 188-metre, 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower already dominates Phnom Penh’s skyline. When complete – the first offices will open in spring 2014 – the development will consist of four different zones: an office zone featuring 21 floors of grade A office space, a luxury retail zone, an ultra-luxury five-star Rosewood hotel on the top 14 floors and a ‘lifestyle cube’ featuring international-standard medical, education and entertainment facilities.

LEED Silver-certified Vattanac Capital Tower is notable for many reasons, but in terms of Phnom Penh’s development it is most significant for introducing true grade A office space to Cambodia. The office zone entrance features an access control system that requires either an employee swipe card or registering with security for a guest card.

Vattanac Capital property services manager Neil Brown explains the project’s different zones.

Vattanac Capital property services manager Neil Brown explains the project’s different zones. Hong Menea

After passing security, there is a bank of elevators waiting for passengers. Elevator traffic can be an issue at many office buildings around Phnom Penh, so the designers of Vattanac Capital Tower made room for 30 Schindler and 2 Kone elevators which will serve dedicated floors and are supposed to arrive within an average of 35 seconds of a passenger calling for a lift.

Much attention has been given to headroom height in the office section. By opting for at least 2.8 meters clear headroom height between floors, Vattanac Capital has created column-free and comfortable work spaces sitting on raised floors which allow for easy and flexible cable and data management. Brown said that had standard office height been used, the building could have had another ten storeys. Walking through an east-facing office with a view of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, it’s difficult to imagine a more prestigious office location in town.

In the office zone it appears that the tiniest details have been considered. Even the bathrooms are fitted out to five-star hotel standards. Every floor also has disabled bathroom and a shower – always handy in a tropical country.

Office occupancy at Vattanac Capital Tower is currently around 50 per cent for the initial phase and so far is made up of primarily of multinational companies, Brown said. Vattanac’s property and retail arms will move into the office zone first in early 2014.

The development’s retail zone is also more than 50 per cent filled up, and will be key to the project’s branding. Vattanac Capital has been highly selective regarding which retailers are allowed to occupy one of the 32 units within the open and spacious retail zone that faces toward Monivong Boulevard.

Gayle Hockin, Vattanac Properties sales and marketing assistant, who also joined our tour of the site, wouldn’t say which luxury brands would be open when Vattanac Capital Tower celebrates its grand opening in April. But she promised they would be big.

“This is the first time these brands have come to Cambodia, so it’s very exciting,” Hockin said.

The five-star hotel managed by US-based Rosewood will not be involved in the grand opening, but its launch in 2015 will no doubt be a big event. Occupying floors 25 through 39, the ultra luxury Rosewood Phnom Penh will not only have a swimming pool on the 33rd floor, it will also offer unrivalled views of the city from its 378-square-metre viewing platform on the 37th floor. Additionally, all of Rosewood Phnom Penh’s 175 rooms and suites will have breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

Last but not least, the lifestyle cube at Vattanac Capital Tower will offer a state-of-the-art cinema complex, international medical services, a high-end food court and even a business school. With the lifestyle cube, Vattanac Capital Tower adds another layer of depth to its offerings, Hockin said.

“Someone working in one of the offices might want to see a dentist, they can just come down and go across to the lifestyle cube -- we’re going to have everything under one roof,” she said.

In the end, Vattanac Capital Tower may be another mixed-use property development, but Brown sees it as a turning point for the country’s development.

“It’s being built with Cambodian investment,” he said, “I think it will be a source of local pride and a symbol of the future of this country.”Read Original text


Russian Boulevard land prices rising

Thu, 12 December 2013

2_Property-prices-along-Russian-Boulevard-experienced-steady-growth-in-2013The west end of Street 110, also known as Russian Boulevard, is attracting increasing interest from investors and retailers because of its vital role connecting Phnom Penh International Airport with the city centre.

Local real estate experts estimate that land prices along the thoroughfare have risen between 10 and 20 per cent compared with 2012.

VMC Real Estate Cambodia general manager Dith Channa said property along Russian Boulevard has high potential, particularly because of the higher-income local and international traffic channeled through the street. New car showrooms, hotels, supermarkets and large-scale projects such as the $1.1 billion Booyoung Town development have all contributed to the increase in land prices along the street, he said.

Russian Boulevard’s most expensive land is on its east end near the central business district centered around Canadia Bank Tower and Vattanac Capital Tower, which is nearing completion [see page 4].

Land prices from Canadia Bank Tower to the 7 Makara Skybridge are currently running from $1,200 to $900 per square metre. From the 7 Makara Skybridge to the intersection with Hanoi Road, prices vary from $900 to $700. Further west between Hanoi Road and Chom Chav, prices are as low as from $600 to $300.

Land prices may be showing positive growth, but Confederation de la Russie has traffic problems that need addressing, Dith said.

“This road has a lot of potential and is attracting interest from larger companies, but there are some problems at times when VIP visitors take the road and traffic is blocked off,” he said.

Khmer Real Estate Company president Kim Heang gave higher estimates than VMC’s Dith for land prices along Russian Boulevard. Kim put prices from Canadia Bank Tower to 7 Makara Skybridge at $2,000 to $1,500. He estimated prices from 7 Makara Skybridge to Hanoi Road at from $1,500 to $1,000 and from Hanoi Road to Chom Chav at from $800 to $500.

“Land prices along Russian Boulevard increased from 10 to 15 per cent in 2013,” Kim said. “Big companies use this road to advertise due to many people traveling through, that is also why we see new car companies opening there.”

CPL Real Estate Company director and Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association president Cheng Kheng said that the rise in property values along Russian Boulevard was driven by the increase in building projects in the area.

A new CPL report lists prices from Canadia Bank tower at between $2,000 and $1,600 per square metre, while 7 Makara Skybridge to Hanoi Road is at $1,000 to $800 and Hanoi Road to Chom Chav at $660 to $450.

Ratanak Plaza Supermarket general manager Hang Sopisey said Russian Boulevard was a natural choice for the supermarket due to its easily accessible location.

“Being located on Russian Boulevard makes your business highly visible to people who travel to and from the airport – many tourist visitors see us on their way into town,” she said.Read Original text


Desolate and dismal or an undiscovered gem? A quiet night at Roots Wine and Cafe

Fri, 6 December 2013

13_The-cold-platter,-with-its-lump-of-cold-mashed-potato-covered-in-chunks-of-carrot,-was-disappointingBefore the age of social media and TripAdvisor, I often based my decisions on where to dine according to the crowd numbers.

So I got an old nagging feeling last week when I visited Roots Wine and Cafe and found the place utterly empty. For a BKK1 restaurant at 6.30pm on Saturday evening, it was disconcerting.

But a restaurant in its early stages might be forgiven for not attracting hordes of people. Roots only opened two months ago and its partner restaurant next door, the Japanese Barbeque Kazu, was packed. So we gave it a chance.

We weren’t long without company. As soon as we arrived, three wait staff plied us with menus and watched over us as we browsed. We’d barely finished our drinks order, let alone read the food menu, before they asked what we wanted to eat. Still, there was something endearing in their enthusiasm.

But small details soon began to niggle. The walls and ceiling were covered in green and brown military camouflage paint that seemed plucked from the fashion spreads of last century. There was something not quite right about my mojito, which I soon realised was down to a copious amount of soda water that neutralised the taste.

My uneasiness continued when the staff came back to us numerous times to confirm our orders. In spite of this, and the fact that there were no other tables to serve, my main course arrived before our appetiser. Thankfully it was a cold platter, so putting it to one side wasn’t too big a hassle. When it arrived, our gorgonzola tortilla pizza shared starter was a delicious cheesy indulgence, though the pot of honey that accompanied it didn’t complement the pizza.

The platter was very disappointing. There were four slices of distinctly average ham, a slither of blue cheese – delicious, but only a slither – and a rubbery square of cheddar. I munched contentedly on the cashew nuts, olives and toasted baguette, but the lump of cold mashed potato, decorated with chunks of carrot, was flavourless, and having paid $9.80, I felt shortchanged.

One companion’s steak was equally disappointing, and another’s small plate of mussels was tasty but smothered by cheese sauce.

It’s always a pleasant surprise to be proved wrong after a bad first impression, but I’m afraid that this wasn’t the case with Roots. The atmosphere was dull, the food insubstantial and overpriced and the service disorganised. I would praise, however, the chilled glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc I drank to wash down my meal. Roots Wine and Cafe, #2A, Street 302, BKK1.Read Original text


Property to continue driving growth in furniture market

Thu, 5 December 2013

8-showrooms-at-Ming-Wuoy-Furniture-CityThe growing activity in Phnom Penh’s property market, especially in terms of new housing coming online, is driving strong growth in demand for furniture in the city. Ming Wuoy Furniture City is one of the city’s largest suppliers of home furniture. Its original four-storey shop on Street 214 opened in 2005, followed by the opening of its second outlet on Monivong Boulevard. Srun Chheangsreng, general manager of Ming Wuoy Furniture City, sat down with the Post to discuss Ming Wuoy and the current state of the furniture market in Cambodia.

Post: Could you please tell us briefly about your company?
Srun: Ming Wuoy is the first, biggest and most modern home furniture company in Cambodia. Since opening in 2005 we have earned many loyal customers who appreciate the quality of the products we sell.

What kinds of furniture do you sell?
We focus solely on home furniture. We offer a wide variety of products including beds, tables, sofas, mattresses, blankets and bedding and any other decorative furniture for the home.

What countries supply you with your imported furniture?
Ming Wuoy imports from China, Malaysia and Italy. We import products from factories known in their countries for a dedication to quality.

Who is your target customer base?
Our company concentrates on medium-income customers. It is obvious that this customer demographic is growing as the economy develops and more good jobs become available, increasing people’s incomes. We also find this group of people easier to serve.

What are Ming Wuoy’s competitive strengths in the Phnom Penh market?
We have many. Our two store locations are both conveniently located in central Phnom Penh. Our imported furniture is of high quality and of a style that our customers find appealing. We also price our furniture very competitively and focus on providing the highest level of service possible.

How have sales been in 2013?
Quite good. Sales at our two stores in the first 11 months of this year compare favorably with last year’s sales numbers.

How would you assess the current state of the home furnishing industry in Cambodia?
Well, consumption in Cambodia is much higher now than it was five or six years ago. The number of home furniture stores has grown, as has the number of homes outfitted with high-quality imported furniture. Not that long ago, there were not many large furniture stores, and only a few small ones sold modern furniture.

What are your feelings about the growing competition in this market?
We see many big companies opening like us, but our bottom line has not been affected by the increase in competition. We’re in a unique position in Cambodia’s home furniture market because our company was an early mover. Ming Wuoy also enjoys a very strong brand and a loyal customer base. Our products are of high quality, and we have ample show space plus free delivery and installation.

How do you see the home furnishing market here developing in the short-term?
I think the home furnishing industry will continue to grow for many reasons, most importantly due to rising standards of living, as illustrated by the large number of boreys [large residential developments], villas and condominiums. Secondly, the coming integration of ASEAN in 2015 will increase regional economic cooperation and create a larger market, which should drive expansion in construction of new villas and condominiums in Phnom Penh and nationwide. As construction grows during the coming two or three years, so will the market for home furniture.Read Original text


Veng Sreng to be widened, renamed

Thu, 5 December 2013

2-Veng-Sreng-BoulevardGovernment officials and local real estate experts agree: widening and repaving the capital’s Veng Sreng Boulevard will have a positive impact on the city’s transport network as well as nearby property values.

Phnom Penh municipal government spokesman Long Dimanche told the Post that Veng Sreng will be expanded 22 metres wide, with a green space running down the middle and dividing six lanes of traffic. The planned roadworks will require 14 months to complete and cost $10 million.

The 6.5-kilometre road, which is an important traffic artery in western Phnom Penh connecting Meanchey and Posenchey districts, has fallen into increasing disrepair in recent years.

Meanchey district chief Kuch Chamreoun told the Post that he had not yet studied the impact of construction on his district, as roadworks will begin in Posenchey first.

Veng Sreng is lined with a string of warehouses and factories and is an important western thoroughfare for large trucks and private vehicles. Chamreoun said widening the road should alleviate the growing problem of traffic jams in the city’s west.

“If the road’s size doesn’t change, it will become more and more congested due to population growth and increased vehicle usage, so it should be enlarged,” he said.

Da Rany, who lives in Borey New World, off of Veng Sreng, said that the construction was a positive development, as the road as it is now is dusty in the dry season and muddy in the rainy season. Not only is the road susceptible to traffic problems, it is also a safety hazard, especially for young people going to and from school, as well as motorcyclists, Rany said.

“I am happy to hear the news of the road’s planned expansion, which should make traffic smoother,” she said. “But I am concerned that the municipal government might only be announcing its plans without following through, because I have not seen any construction yet.”

Noun Rithy, general manager of Bonna Realty Group, said the planned traffic infrastructure upgrade is affecting property values along Veng Sreng, although only slightly, as the area is already developed.

“Land prices along Veng Sreng run between $250 and $500 per square metre,” Rithy said. “I don’t think prices will increase anymore because it is in an area for grade three commerce.”

Recently, Rithy said, ground-floor flats along Veng Sreng have been priced between $120,000 and $180,000. One-storey flats on side roads have been priced at between $35,000 and $45,000 and two-storey flats on side roads between $55,000 and $65,000.

Kim Heang, president of Khmer Real Estate company, said that when construction is completed, Veng Sreng will be renamed Chorm Chaov Boulevard.

Chorm Chaov’s completion will make the area more suitable for medium-income residents, Heang added.Read Original text