clock 02-05-2017
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Tap Into Cambodia, the Next Pot of Gold for Investment

Amid the uncertainty of Brexit and the slowing real estate sector in Singapore, emerging markets like Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are catching the attention of investors looking for more promising investment opportunities in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

From being the least-developed country in Southeast Asia more than 20 years ago, Cambodia now boasts a dynamic economy with the fastest pace of GDP growth within the region.

Other factors that make Cambodia an attractive proposition for Asian overseas investors include the potential high returns on investment due to the country being a rapidly developing frontier market, its proximity to other Southeast Asian countries, the relaxed laws on foreign ownership, the ease of transferring money between countries, the dollarized economy which is attractive to certain investors to hedge against currency fluctuations, growing tourism, as well as improving regional / global connectivity.

According to Country Manager of Knight Frank Cambodia, Ross Whebel, Cambodia has recorded one of the world's top 10 and most consistent GDP growth rates since 2014. It achieved an average annual growth of seven percent between 2014 and 2016 and is expected to maintain this pace in 2017 and 2018.

The shoreline of Sihanoukville is also proving a hotbed of new residential development, including the construction of the current luxury condominium, D'Seaview.

Today, Sihanoukville, with a population of roughly 400,000 local Cambodians, has the biggest seaport, a huge agricultural community, international airport, exponential growing tourist arrivals, lifestyle seaside, island resorts, casinos, a special economic zone and the main base for offshore oil and gas drilling.

Increased tourism numbers and a growing gambling scene is also hoped to bring more long-term property investors to Sihanoukville as well. Mixed-use and condominium developments of an international standard are popping up across the city.

Speaking at the Real Estate Investment Talk at Hotel No.5 on Monday afternoon, Project Sales Director of Carey Real Estate Sdn Bhd, Damien Ooi, said Cambodia is one of the few foreign investor-friendly countries.

"Cambodia's economy opened up in 2010 and since then, it has been booming very fast. One of the reasons why we're tapping into Cambodia is because of its strong Gross National Product (GNP) growth, which has successfully increased by 8% over the last 10-15 years", he added.

Other reasons why Cambodia is a good place to invest in are:

- Young and inexpensive workforce - Prime location in one of the fastest growing region in the world - Stable politics - Pro-business government and favourable investment climate - Increase trade integration - Improving transport connectivity - Untapped natural resources and land - Strong growing domestic consumer market - Unleveraged financial position

Advantage for foreign investing in Cambodia

100% Property Ownership for Foreigners - Freehold Strata Title (Hard Title) - No restriction on buying or selling

No Capital Control - No restriction on remi]ance of capital or profit in and out of Cambodia - Transfer through legitimate financial institutions

Low Tax - Corporate tax rate at 20% - Foreigner withholding tax at 14%

Dollarized Economy - Stable currency and economy

Young Society (Median Age of 21) - Rising literacy and income - Increasing demand in lifestyle properties - Generally loan free community, thus able to get mortgage loan easily

D'Seaview is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The Sihanoukville project is a good investment for those who wish to invest in something with a high rental return and minimal risks.

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