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Straits Times 11 November 2022
Why investors should watch out for Asia’s new destination mall in Phnom Penh
Cambodia’s bright economic outlook and the capital city’s rapid development offer high upside potential to investors shopping for affordable overseas properties
As Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh is the main beneficiary of foreign direct investment in the country. The city of 2.2 million boasts a rapidly changing skyline as new office and residential towers, as well as shopping malls, jostle for space.
Arguably the most eye-catching skyscraper is The Peak, a freehold development jointly developed by Singapore-based Oxley Holdings, which is known for Oxley Bizhub, Oxley Tower and many luxurious condominium projects in Singapore, and Worldbridge Land (Cambodia) Co, a well-established real estate company in Cambodia.
The Peak occupies 12,609 sq m in the heart of Phnom Penh, near Nagaworld, the city’s only casino. It comprises two 55-storey residential towers of more than 1,000 apartments, a commercial tower of 250 offices and an integrated over Shangri-La Hotel with more than 300 rooms, which is set to open next year. Taking pride of place at the site is The Peak Mall, spreading across 25,000 sqm.
Ninety-nine per cent of residential and 100 per cent of office units at The Peak, which obtained its temporary occupation permit in 2021, have already been sold. The Peak Mall retail units are also selling fast, with more than 80 per cent of its units sold.
As interest rates rise relentlessly around the world, investors are setting their sights on more affordable overseas properties with higher upside potential. At The Peak Mall, units are priced from as low as US$99,000 (S$139,000) and come with developer-guaranteed returns of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent for up to eight years. The Peak Mall makes for an attractive bet in a fast-growing country.
One of Asean’s fastest-growing economies
For the past two decades, Cambodia has been one of the bright lights of South-east Asia’s economy. The kingdom grew at an average annual rate of 7.7 per cent between 1998 and 2019, attaining lower middle-income status in 2015.
Post-pandemic, Cambodia’s economy has regained momentum and is projected to grow 4.8 per cent in 2022, thanks to rebounding exports. Over the medium term, the economy is expected to grow around 6 per cent annually under a new investment law and free trade agreements.
Construction is one of the economy’s four pillars, alongside garment export, tourism and agriculture. The sector attracted a total investment of US$5.33 billion in 2021.
It is against this promising backdrop that Oxley Holdings jointly developed The Peak with Worldbridge Land (Cambodia) Co. Oxley Worldbridge, as the joint venture is known, has appointed international luxury brands distributor Bluebell Group to manage The Peak Mall, further enhancing the mall’s value proposition.
Bluebell has more than 70 years of experience curating and introducing the world’s leading brands and currently distributes 150 luxury, premium and lifestyle brands in 10 Asian markets, from Indonesia to Japan.
“This is an attractive opportunity for investors as they can leave the managing of the malls tenants in the hands of the developer and its asset manager," says an Oxley spokesman.
Already, popular brands such as Clarks, LukFook Jewellery, Aigner, Brook Brothers, Paul & Sharks, Owndays, Thakral, ChiCha San Chen, Illy café, Louisiana Fried Chicken and Hiko Teppanyaki have confirmed that they will be setting up shop in The Peak Mall and the mall’s phase one opening is expected to take place in early 2023. Various luxurious brands are also in talks with the mall to set up shop there.
This is an overseas investment. As overseas investments carry additional financial, regulatory and legal risks, investors are advised to do the necessary checks and research on the investment beforehand. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance even if the same strategies are adopted.