When it comes to the buy-to-let apartment market, Indochina Plaza Hanoi is often referred to as the most successful of investments. Despite the booming supply of apartment projects in Vietnam’s capital, the property is achieving the highest rental yield in the market as a result of its popularity among Japanese expatriates.
Few could imagine the vibrant and dynamic community it would become when Indochina Capital began building Indochina Plaza Hanoi a decade ago. At the time, the area surrounding the project was deemed “the outskirts” - where Hanoians were reluctant to move in or work. However, Indochina Capital’s CEO Peter Ryder recognized the potential in this high-growth area, as the government was determined to develop Hanoi to the west. His intention to build Indochina Plaza Hanoi as a landmark project of international caliber in the city was well received in the real estate market, with all apartments being quickly sold out at the premium price of up to $3,000 per square meter.
Leading the charge
Indochina Plaza Hanoi not only led the transformation of Hanoi’s urban landscape but also served as a benchmark for luxury properties throughout Vietnam. “We address the current and future demands of the market with a focus on delivering value added real estate developments while maintaining our commitment to architectural excellence and international construction standards,” Mr. Ryder said.
Indochina Plaza Hanoi is a typical example of what Indochina Capital has done to raise the bar in the local real estate market. Over two decades of operations in Vietnam, the company has pioneered and transformed areas off the beaten track while also setting new benchmarks in quality.
Its properties are in fact revolutionary and were the first of their kind when opened. The Nam Hai has become Vietnam’s first ultra-luxury resort and Six Senses Con Dao Resort set the benchmark for ecologically-conscious design excellence. Meanwhile, Hyatt Regency Danang is the first branded resort residence in the country.
Foreign investors like Indochina Capital, CapitaLand, and Keppel Land have had a radical influence on Vietnam’s real estate market.
The most obvious change they brought was raising product quality through design, construction and technology. The highest-quality projects across the residential, retail, office, and hotel sectors are mainly developed by foreign investors or rely on foreign influence throughout the design and construction phase. Projects that best hold value are also typically tied to the names of foreign developers, which is testament to foresight in concept, design, and construction.
The quality of foreign-backed developments has encouraged local developers to learn and, as a result, some local investors have now caught up with their foreign counterparts in quality and services.
Capitalizing on its expertise and track record in the real estate market in Vietnam, Indochina Capital is aggressively expanding its investment in the country while offering much-desired advisory services to local investors.
It is teaming up with the Kajima Corporation to invest at least $1 billion over the next several years in Vietnam’s real estate market, with plans to develop all types of property, encompassing residential, commercial, hospitality, and industrial.
As part of this strategy, the joint venture broke ground on the first Wink Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City late last year, and it targets building as many as 20 hotels of the same brand over the next five to seven years around the country.
“We aim to champion the affordable luxury hotel segment in Vietnam with a truly innovative and exciting brand that resonates with young and young-at-heart local and regional travelers,” said Mr. Ryder. “We will continue to do as we have done in the past, that is, produce innovative real estate properties.”
Joint ventures are popular among foreign developers since they are financially strong and have a respectable track record in property development, while local developers have land and close links with the local community. Two divisions have recently been appointed as strategic advisor and lead sales agent for The Zei, a high-end mixed use development in the commercial district of My Dinh, in Hanoi’s west.
Through its international network, Indochina Capital has helped bring in world-class consultants and designers to develop The Zei, with the aim of delivering a high-quality product similar to past developments and attain the success it experienced with Indochina Plaza Hanoi.
Mr. Michael Piro, COO of Indochina Capital, said that in today’s competitive market, the biggest challenge for a developer is to differentiate themselves from the rest. Unfortunately, a number of developers lack creativity and try to emulate a proven formula. “This also doubles as an opportunity for experienced developers like Indochina Capital, as we can take the lead and introduce something new to the market,” he said.
He is confident that “as we encourage the projects we advise, like The Zei, to utilize international consultants and designers, it will emulate the success it achieved with Indochina Plaza Hanoi. We understand the local market inside out, so while we aim to bring the best international real estate practices to Vietnam, we always tailor our developments to local demand and market needs - a mantra that we find essential for achieving success in Vietnam.”