Singapore: a key partner for Cambodia in real estate development


The Cambodian real estate sector has undergone a massive transformation over the past few years.

The real estate sector has been “resoundingly successful”, despite the many challenges it faces, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

The skylines around Phnom Penh and other urban areas of the country now boast many high-rise buildings and massive development projects, a stark contrast to a decade ago when Cambodia was largely a economic backwater far behind its neighbors and other countries in the region.

While local companies have done their fair share, this would not have been possible without the help, know-how and investment that foreign companies have poured into the Kingdom.

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

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

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

In fact, there is a preference in Cambodia to follow Singaporean standards in construction and development, due to their quality and reliability.

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

Some of the biggest Singaporean names in the Cambodian property sector include 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 iconic Cambodian landmarks for years to come.

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

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

Last year, PropNex, a leading Singaporean real estate agency, entered the Cambodian market, after entering Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“Driven by the desire to be a leading regional real estate agency, we are constantly looking to expand our footprint in Southeast Asia. PropNex Cambodia will reach great heights in the market and will soon be a dominant player in the market for years to come, creating the next big wave of professional property sellers in the country,” said Ismail Gafoor, Executive Chairman and CEO of PropNex, after announcing their entry into the Kingdom in May 2021.

With the end of the pandemic, more Singaporean businesses, especially property developers and investors, are expected to choose Cambodia as their next destination.

Singapore’s YCH Group announced earlier this year that it would soon begin work on the $200 million Phnom Penh Logistics Complex (PPLC). There are also reports that Singapore companies are planning to establish smart cities in the Kingdom with more to come.

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