Japan, China top most expensive expat postings in Asia

Japan, China top most expensive expat postings in Asia

Thu, 23 January 2014 Chris Horton Tokyo is still Asia’s most expensive city for expat postings, but it is being losing ground to smoggy Beijing, according to the results of a survey released recently by global employment solutions provider ECA International. Tokyo and Beijing, which were globally ranked 10th and 15th, respectively, were followed by Nagasaki, Shanghai and Yokohama to round out the top five most expensive expat postings in Asia. Things could be drastically different in the next survey, however, as economic conditions in Japan and China look likely to change this year. “Although the Chinese government has allowed the renminbi to appreciate steadily against the US dollar and food and oil prices in China have been rising, Beijing’s jump up the ranking is largely due to Japanese locations becoming so much cheaper because of the weaker yen,” said Lee Quane, Asia regional director for ECA International. “Nevertheless, living costs in Chinese locations have increased in recent years, making China a more expensive location than some of its neighbours for companies looking to set up operations in the region.” The global list was topped by the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, followed by Angola’s capital Luanda, the Norwegian capital Oslo, South Sudan’s capital Juba and Stavanger, another Norwegian city. More locally, the Southeast Asian region is led by Singapore, which ranks ninth in Asia and 30th globally. The survey ranked Phnom Penh 34th in Asia and 215th worldwide. Other Southeast Asian cities that came in ahead of Phnom Penh include Bangkok (26th), Yangon (31st) and Chiang Mai (32nd). Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were close behind Phnom Penh...
Ch- ch- ch- changes: I Ching Decor evolving along with Phnom Penh

Ch- ch- ch- changes: I Ching Decor evolving along with Phnom Penh

Thu, 23 January 2014 Chris Horton As the property market in Phnom Penh continues to become more diverse and sophisticated, demand for high-end interior design for homes, businesses and offices has grown apace. One of the first companies to address this market, I Ching Decor, has spent the past decade growing and adapting to the changing needs and conditions of the capital’s increasingly dynamic property sector. Founded in 2003, the interior design company has evolved into a team of dedicated professionals capable of providing everything from custom furniture to full-package refurbishment. With its team of metalworkers, glassworkers, upholsterers, furniture makers and experienced handymen, I Ching offers full-spectrum interior solutions for a wide range of clients. As general manager Benita Sharpe puts it: “The only thing we don’t do is build houses.” I Ching fittingly takes its name from the Chinese philosophical classic of the same name, also known as the Book of Changes. Now, after years of helping clients bring change to their spaces, I Ching Decor itself is also changing. After more than three years as I Ching’s head designer, Sharpe recently took on the general manager position and is taking the company in new directions. In addition to the design services it has always provided its clients, I Ching is now adding a new offering to its palette: artwork, vases and other extra touches that customers previously had to sort out themselves. Susan Winchester, manager of I Ching’s office on Sothearos Boulevard across from the Sofitel, said that the new focus on home accessories in addition to furniture grew out of necessity. “Finding quality artwork and accessories...
Risk-averse Japanese investing more in Phnom Penh condos

Risk-averse Japanese investing more in Phnom Penh condos

Thu, 23 January 2014 Chris Horton In the course of a city’s development, especially a capital city, certain events serve as mile markers, raising their profile both regionally and globally. For Phnom Penh, the change in regulations in 2010 that allowed foreign nationals to purchase condominiums above the second floor with hard strata title marked a new stage in attracting foreign investment. Since 2010, another event has suggested that Phnom Penh’s property market has entered a new stage of development: the recent surge in Japanese investment in Phnom Penh condominiums. Few understand the changing views of Japanese investors toward Cambodia better than the upper management of boutique real estate consultancy AnnaCam Partners, one of Phnom Penh’s top providers of real estate services to Japanese investors. Phnom Penh-registered AnnaCam organises investment seminars in Japan for potential investors who want to learn more about the pros and cons of investing in Phnom Penh. Afterwards, groups of 10 or more investors come to the capital to personally inspect condominiums and decide whether to take the plunge and make a purchase. AnnaCam CEO Anna Araki told the Post that Cambodia’s recent emergence on the radar of Japanese investors was based on a growing understanding of the current state of economic development in the capital. Location, location, location: Top investment recommendation De Castle Royal. Scott Howes “Most Japanese that come here are pleasantly surprised,” Araki said. “Before coming here, many people think the city might still have mines, but they quickly realise that Phnom Penh is already quite developed. “They fall in love with the friendly locals, good restaurants and cafes and abundant culture.”...
Housing loans up in 2013, growth expected to continue in ’14

Housing loans up in 2013, growth expected to continue in ’14

Thu, 16 January 2014 Sum Manet Last year across Cambodia’s cities, more and more people decided to take the plunge and invest in housing. This should be obvious to anyone who lived in Cambodia last year. The sounds of construction or renovation were more noticeable than before in cities across the Kingdom. Data from Cambodia’s largest commercial bank backs up this anecdotal evidence. The total amount of loans provided by ACLEDA Bank for housing purchases in 2013 was up nearly 15 per cent year-on-year, breaking the $100 million mark for the first time. ACLEDA Bank senior vice-president and credit division director Inn Siphann told the Post that housing loans in 2013 totaled $107.3 million, up 14.6 per cent over 2012’s $93 million. There was also a considerable increase in lending by ACLEDA for home improvements, Siphann said. In 2013 the lender provided $57.7 million in home improvement loans, compared with $45 million the previous year, translating into an increase of 28.2 per cent, he added. Siphann said that there was no reason to expect a slowdown in the purchases and renovations of homes in 2014. “Housing loans in 2014 will continue growing because of several factors such as continued economic development, population growth, more newlyweds, and movement of people from the countryside into cities and boreys,” he said. ACLEDA provided loans to 13,439 people last year, a nearly 25 per cent jump from 10,778 loan recipients in 2012. Dr Bun Mony, Cambodia Microfinance Association director and CEO of microfinance institution Sathapana Limited, said the emergence of microfinance institutions and banks to support growing interest in housing investment is a...
The Sihanoukville option

The Sihanoukville option

Thu, 16 January 2014 Chris Horton As property prices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap continue to push upwards, many investors are quickly being priced out of these first-tier markets. Looking at second-tier cities around the Kingdom, Sihanoukville in particular stands out as an investment destination worth serious consideration. Named after the King Father and home to the Kingdom’s only deep-water port, Sihanoukville is the capital of the province of the same name and is home to a fast-growing population of nearly 300,000. Many of Sihanoukville’s residents are there for the port or its associated export-focused manufacturing. The city is Cambodia’s second-largest manufacturing base after Phnom Penh, with most of its output consisting of garments and shoes. Port and manufacturing aside, tourism and retirement are also bringing in throngs of people from around the country and the world who want to enjoy the Cambodian lifestyle near some of the Kingdom’s nicest beaches and islands. Sihanoukville is composed of four sangkat, or communes, numbered one through four. Unsurprisingly, for residential and small business investment, Sangkat 4 – which has the most developed beachfront area – is presently the most popular location. Sangkat 4 features the four-kilometre Occheuteal Beach, the western end of which is known as Serendipity Beach and is home to a seemingly endless line of restaurants and bars aimed at the wallets of beachgoers by day and revellers by night. Nearby, Otres Beaches’ comparatively pristine conditions are beginning to attract more attention. Sihanoukville Real Estate director Sieng Pharkdey told the Post that the city’s recent rapid growth was likely to continue in the short term due to several...