Cambodia: Diamond island lures Chinese retail investors

Cambodia: Diamond island lures Chinese retail investors

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Developers of a 100-hectare island development in Phnom Penh, Cambodia—intended to replicate Singapore’s successful Marina Bay Sands complex—highly depend on wealthy Chinese investors for the project’s future.

The masterplan for Diamond Island, locally known as Koh Pich, includes a mixed-use, integrated community along Mekong River, comprising some 1,000 condominiums, upscale villas, a shopping complex, an events centre, a hospital, a fire station, several office spaces, two international schools, a golf course and driving range, and a 555-metre multi-use tower that could become one of the world’s tallest structures.

Local conglomerate Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) acquired the property in 2006 and is now developing the USD700 million project via a joint venture with China-based Jixiang Investment, which purchased its stake in the property for nearly USD100 million, according to The New York Times.

In collaboration with Chinese- and Taiwanese-backed Vietnamese company Sino-Pacific Construction, Chinese interior design firm Guangzhou Sunho Decoration and Thai architectural firm A-Seven, the development is luring affluent overseas investors—especially high-net-worth Chinese who make investments in cash—who are looking to expand their wealth abroad to participate in the ambitious project.

“Mainland Chinese, especially Shanghainese, are very impressive,” Um Bun An, sales manager at Casa Meridian, one of the condo developers on Koh Pich, told the New York City-based publication. “They don’t need loans. They make their purchases in cash.”

Since the Cambodian government allowed foreign buyers to purchase condo units above the first storey of approved structures in 2010, Chinese buyers have snapped up nearly half of the sales on the island project, mostly for strategic purposes.

“The majority of Chinese buyers are buying as an investment,” said Brak Kim Seng, senior sales officer at OCIC’s Canadia Bank unit. “They’ll hold on, and when prices rise, they’ll sell off,” he noted.

Diamond Island’s first residential developments—two high-rise condo towers—are expected to be completed in 2016, a few months after the ASEAN integration slated at the close of 2015. Upon completion of the entire project, developers are hoping that it would become the country’s Chinatown and next premier commercial and tourist destination, with a healthy population of expat professionals.

Property Report

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