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Thailand Property – Japan upbeat about Thai investment

By on Oct 04, 2014 in Property News, Residential

Leading Japanese developers have been expanding their property investment in Southeast Asia, and especially in Thailand, since the beginning of last year as they see increased business opportunities in the region when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect next year.

“We have expanded our investment in Asia over more than 40 years. The first country was Singapore, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, [mainland] China, Taiwan and [most recently] Thailand,” Mitsui Fudosan executive managing officer Takeshi Suzuki said last week after the group introduced the two latest condominium projects – worth Bt10 billion combined – by Ananda MF Asia, its joint venture with Ananda Development.  Suzuki said that half of Mitsui Fudosan’s overseas investment budget worth ¥500 billion (Bt148 billion) in the period 2012-2017 would go towards the Asian market, and to Asean countries in particular in light of the AEC’s upcoming implementation.

In Asia, the group now has investments in China, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, and it is negotiating with partners to take the next steps into Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.  In Thailand, the group has invested Bt10.5 billion via a joint venture with AP (Thailand) to develop four condominium projects.  Three were developed last year, with the fourth project – the Bt3.3-billion Aspire Sathorn-Thapra – launched this week.

Prior to Japanese developers starting to expand their investment in Thailand over the past two years, property firms from Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China began to expand their investment in the Kingdom in 2008.

Investment by Japanese firms has been carefully planned through the establishment of joint ventures with Thai developers, and also by focusing on the development of condominium projects located close to greater Bangkok’s mass-transit system.  Katsuaki Mori, a senior executive in the international business division of Mitsubishi Jisho Residence, said the company had confidence in the Thai property market’s strong growth, especially in Bangkok, where urbanisation is following the mass-transit system – both the BTS Skytrain and the MRT underground.

Meanwhile, Thai developers in joint ventures with Japanese firms also expect to get technology transfer from their partners, which have experience in developing condominiums and maximising the use of limited space in the design process.

AP (Thailand) CEO Anuphong Assavabhokhinm said the company’s joint-venture relationship with Mitsubishi Estate Group did not only provide financial support for expansion, but was also a way to improve its business structure by learning from its Japanese partner, resulting in improvement in its construction process, architecture, design and business management.

Japanese firms have expanded their investment in Thailand over more than a half of century in industrial sectors including manufacturing, the auto industry and consumer products, but they have only recently moved into the Thai property sector.  This shows they have the confidence to enter a market viewed as offering long-term potential.

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