US real es­tate name en­ters King­dom

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS -

THE real es­tate mar­ket in Cam­bo­dia has wit­nessed rapid progress, es­pe­cially over the last four to five years. Un­for­tu­nately, many have noted that hu­man re­sources and other vi­tal ar­eas of the work­force seem to be lag­ging.

In or­der to make the mar­ket more ro­bust and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised, in late May, Kim Heang, the CEO of Kh­mer Real Es­tate Co Ltd, signed an agree­ment for the mas­ter fran­chise rights to bring US real es­tate com­pany Keller Wil­liams Realty to the King­dom. Post Prop­erty’s Hin Pi­sei sat down with him to find out more.

What do you think of the real es­tate sec­tor in Cam­bo­dia to­day?

I recog­nise that the real es­tate sec­tor in Cam­bo­dia is now mov­ing for­ward very fast in terms of leas­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and pur­chase and sales. How­ever, the sec­tor still faces a num­ber of ob­sta­cles, es­pe­cially in terms of abil­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, and a lack of com­pli­ance with the law and code of ethics.

We know that in Cam­bo­dia there are many prac­ti­tion­ers in this sec­tor, but of ev­ery 100, less than five have gone through train­ing to be reg­is­tered as es­tate agents.

What is Keller Wil­liams Realty and why did you buy the Keller Wil­liams Realty’s mas­ter fran­chise rights for Cam­bo­dia?

The Texas, US-based com­pany was founded in 1983. It earned more than $1 bil­lion in rev­enue last year, which is a US and global record for that year. It has a to­tal of 165,642 es­tate agents world­wide.

I went to the US sev­eral times to study the many real es­tate com­pa­nies’ meth­ods so that I could use them to help de­velop hu­man re­sources and the real es­tate sec­tor in Cam­bo­dia.

Keller Wil­liams Realty is a com­pany which has a busi­ness model that fits the mar­ket sit­u­a­tion in Cam­bo­dia, which has a lot of young peo­ple and many un­trained or un­li­censed es­tate agents in busi­ness.

Keller Wil­liams Realty is a com­pany cre­ated by es­tate agents for es­tate agents.

On sign­ing the mas­ter fran­chise deal, I am not only aim­ing to ex­pand busi­ness part­ners across Cam­bo­dia, but in the fu­ture I can also ex­pand my busi­ness to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in the Asean re­gion.

When will Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia make sub-fran­chise deals with part­ner com­pa­nies?

I plan to do that in the be- gin­ning of next year, be­cause from now to the end of this year, I have a lot of work to do set­ting up the com­pany’s new office which is 10 times big­ger than the cur­rent one, train­ing more staff, set­ting up the man­age­ment group and a stan­dard­ised sys­tem in com­pli­ance with Keller Wil­liams Realty.

For the first stage of a sub­fran­chise agree­ment, I will not sell to many com­pa­nies, only three to five in Phnom Penh, and only one in each prov­ince.

A com­pany that wants to land a sub-fran­chise has to be li­censed with at least three years ex­pe­ri­ence in real es­tate. They need to have a good rep­u­ta­tion and at least 20 peo­ple as sales staff. The sub-fran­chisee’s man­age­ment team may un­der­study at Keller Wil­liams Realty in the US.

Are there any com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in a sub-fran­chise deal with your com­pany?

At present, many real es­tate com­pa­nies have con­tacted me about run­ning a sub­fran­chise, how­ever I have not de­cided to sell to any com­pany yet.

Be­fore do­ing so, I need to check and eval­u­ate that com­pany clearly be­cause we do not sell only for money, re­gard­less of those sub-fran­chisees’ suc­cess.

Re­gard­ing ca­pac­ity, do you plan to train Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia staff?

In the first phase, Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia will con­duct train­ing cour­ses for its own staff ev­ery month. By 2022, we plan to launch an in­sti­tute named the In­sti­tute of Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia to pro­vide train­ing to those keen to learn the re­quired skills to achieve suc­cess in the real es­tate sec­tor.

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia?

Keller Wil­liams Realty is a glob­ally fa­mous com­pany like McDon­ald’s and Star­bucks. On be­half of the Re­gional Oper­a­tion Prin­ci­pal of Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia, I expect the com­pany will op­er­ate smoothly, and through this, it will help to drive the real es­tate sec­tor in Cam­bo­dia to be more pros­per­ous.

By 2022, I expect Keller Wil­liams Cam­bo­dia to con­trol at least 30 per­cent share of the real es­tate mar­ket in Phnom Penh, and by 2029, it will hold more than 30 per­cent in the King­dom.

Cam­bo­dia is the fourth coun­try in Asean with the pres­ence of Keller Wil­liams Realty af­ter Viet­nam, In­done­sia and the Philip­pines.

This in­ter­view has been edited for length and clar­ity.


Kim Heang is shown on a visit to the US of­fices of Keller Wil­liams Realty.

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