Meridian CEO shares his vision on investing in Cambodia’s growing real estate sector

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Flatiron by Meridian, the exterior renderings.

What encouraged you to invest in Cambodia?

In recent decades, Cambodia had maintained a political stability conducive to the economic and social development. It allows enjoying preferential policies for complete duty and tax exemption on imports and exports for several countries.

100 per cent foreign ownership of companies is allowed in most sectors, US dollar trading, no restrictions on the repatriation of profits or capital derived from investments either in Cambodia or on most transfers of funds abroad and a rapid economic progress. Following those changes, GDP growth average seven per cent while inflation had dropped ever since.

What are the main pull factors of Cambodia?

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ko Sek Yan CEO, Meridian International Holding (Cambodia) Ltd.

For Chinese investors, since China put forward the “One Belt, One Road” development strategy, Southeast Asia has always been the core area of this plan and Cambodia is one of China’s closest allies in the Southeast Asian region by providing extensive support for 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Indian Ocean and South Pacific.

In recent years, leaders between China and Cambodia have interacted frequently, and all pragmatic cooperation has been on going. Major projects such as Expressway from Phnom Penh to coastal Sihanoukville in the Southwest, host for 2023 SEA Games and the new airport are all in full swing.

Furthermore, Cambodia full with tourist attractions. It is expected to receive 8 million international travelers in 2020, hence, in order to facilitate, the government taking measures to enhance overall tourist areas and amenities, launched strategic marketing plan, upgrading infrastructure & transportation as well as facilitating hospitality. The market has great potential!

Is the infrastructure in real estate different from china? Please explain.

Compared with China, Cambodia still far apart on infrastructure, domestically it had yet to develop. For instance, railways and highways still lag behind neighboring countries. Among the Central South Peninsula, it still relative lag in infrastructure on construction, hotel and restaurant facilities, resulted hospitality service standard limits Cambodia’s tourism revenue growth.

Since a new member of Asean, Cambodia had taken the opportunity to expand its economic relations with countries in the region and beyond. The country emphasis great importance of building the infrastructure to continue climb the ladder of economic development. Several large projects had been released or ongoing. Thus, Cambodia classify as a high potential with unlimited possibilities, to be the most attractive investment destination among the ten ASEAN countries.

Flatiron is your fifth project after Casa, Skylar, garment factory and an industry park. What is special with this project?

The indifferent part of other projects that I had done so far, the choice of specs adopting for this development largely from USA & UK. Flatiron design is more subtle and unique as we play along with the triangular land size, which had been purchased. The external façade using mixture types of curtain wall, advanced electromechanical configuration, innovation in construction materials and in-building technologies.

This time round the structure is more complex as we needed to Increase office space utilization, improve office comfort, structure conversion processing at 26th floor; on the Apart ‘Hotel segment, using pretension beamless floor slab design which allow to increase the floor height as well as improve sound proof effect. Despite the difficulty & complexity in it, we definitely aim and strive to transform Flatiron into a skyscraper landmark in Phnom Penh.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

What are the advantages of being an old player, compared to new developers entering Cambodia?

Compared with other developers who have just enter into the market, as one of the veteran company, certainly we have a better understanding about Cambodia’s cultures and market movement. More efficient by tactfully handle various matters.

After several projects that we had managed all these years, our company had cultivated an excellent team which inclusive construction, back-end & customer service support, compliance, sales & marketing, architecture & creative, finance & administration as well as property management.

Furthermore, we had also established business relationship with high-net-worth/quality partners. The recognition of our company’s development had gained stronger through the years as we had timely delivered our products towards our client.

In terms of marketing, we able to understand the market trend after series of research in order to strategize all activities in various target countries. To distinguish the product from its competition, constantly, we placed ourselves into customer position to provide their needs and wants. We believe in building own customer base. This year, we witness a significant result on our company’s brand awareness.

In what perspective that construction, architecture and location will make Flatiron by Meridian more unique?

The project is located in Phnom Penh City Centre, a scale unprecedented in a new built-up Central Business District, south facing the Prime Minister’s Office. Land area of about 3,000 sqm, build-up area about 82,000 sqm with a building height of 158 meters.

Flatiron by Meridian is our latest high-rise development which concept ideally integrated with forward-thinking business principles. The overall designed as a top-tier business hotel and office along with a decent sizes of retail outlets which suitable for local and foreign companies. We planned to lead by our vision to bring a new lifestyle choice to Cambodia that transforms the lives of people.

Inspired by The Flatiron, one of the most iconic building in Fifth Avenue, New York City. Its sustainable design concept dominated by concrete, steel and glass tower to complement the luxury of the interior. This new building follows best practice in terms of sustainability more towards humanity, climate control and security. Either the hotel guests or working peeps, everyone able to indulge in a lush landscaped housing the development’s recreational facility with infinity-pool and astonish city views.

After its completion, it surely continue gain the high-end real estate market positioning in Phnom Penh.

Can you brief about the structure for the customer whom is looking for a decent offices in Phnom Penh?

Yes, certainly. We started to feel a higher demand of the smaller office for new foreign start-up SME/Entrepreneur entering Cambodia. Majority small enterprises are marching into the country to try out their business over here. Hence, we feel there is a need of it for lease and at the same time, there are many new investors flying over to Cambodia unknowingly the market expectation but intend to explore business opportunity for various industries with a small scale startup of $100 – $200k instead of $600k. As such, we customize out two floors of small offices at Level 10th and 12th to cater the demand.

The sales of these smaller units have been officially launched exclusively in Singapore and Cambodia on the 12-15 September 2019.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post