Singapore: A key partner for Cambodia in real estate development

The Cambodian property sector has gone through a massive transformation in the last few years.

The property sector has been a ‘roaring success’, despite the many challenges facing it, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

The skylines around Phnom Penh and other urban areas of the country now boast of many tall buildings and massive development projects, a sharp contrast from a decade ago, when Cambodia was largely an economic backwater far behind its neighbours and other countries in the region.

While local firms have done their fair share, this would not have been possible without the assistance, know-how and investments that companies from abroad have poured into the Kingdom.

China, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Singapore are among the biggest investors in the Cambodian property sector.

Companies from these countries have built and developed many of the malls, apartments, office towers,  condos and other major properties in the Kingdom.

While Chinese companies have dominated the headlines, it is not uncommon for many people to set foot in many of the development projects built with Singaporean know-how, standards and money.

In fact, there is a preference in Cambodia for following Singaporean standards in construction and development, owing to their quality and reliability.

Singaporean companies are also actively involved in the Cambodian health, distribution, tourism, manufacturing, food, energy, logistics, banking and trading sectors. The Council for the Development of Cambodia or CDC has approved 127 Singapore-owned investment projects worth more than $1.5 billion since the early 1990s, according to local media reports.

Among the biggest Singaporean names in the Cambodian property sector are Oxley Holdings, Hong Lai Huat Group and PropNex.

Oxley Holdings and its Cambodian partner, WorldBridge Group, are behind The Bridge and the soon-to-be-completed The Peak and The Palms, which are set to become landmarks of Cambodia for years to come.

Hung Lai Huat Group, meanwhile, is the company behind D’Seaview, a 735-unit, mixed-use development in Sihanoukville, and the Royal Platinum, which the company is developing in Phnom Penh together with the Royal Group.

A joint venture between Taiwanese and Singaporean investors established the Leedon Heights, another major development in Phnom Penh.

Last year, PropNex, a leading Singaporean real-estate agency, entered the Cambodian market, following its entry into Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“Fuelled by a desire to be a leading regional real estate agency, we are constantly on the look-out to grow our Southeast Asia footprint. PropNex Cambodia will charter great heights in the market and will soon be a dominant market player in the coming years, thereby creating the next big wave of professional real estate salespersons in the country,” Ismail Gafoor, Executive Chairman and CEO of PropNex, said after announcing their entry into the Kingdom in May 2021.

With the pandemic winding down, expectations are high that more Singaporean companies, especially property developers and investors, will choose Cambodia as their next destination.

Singapore’s YCH Group has announced early this year that it will soon start working on the $200 million Phnom Penh Logistics Complex (PPLC). There are also reports that Singaporean companies are planning to establish smart cities in the Kingdom and more are to come.

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