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Foreign franchises dominate real estate sector   2010-11-14 - VNS

A strong foreign presence in the real estate service sector has led to an imbalance in the Vietnamese market.

Experts said many investors have hired foreign companies such as CB Richard Ellis, Savills and Colliers to consult, manage and market successful real estate projects.

This situation has been going on for some time and is likely to continue in the coming years, they said.

Robin Hill Tourism Company Ltd recently contracted the US's Starwood Hotels and Resorts to manage the Sheraton Da Lat Resort and Hotel.

A representative of the Robin Hill Resort Company Ltd said that with this agreement, the management of his resort would be more professional in order to meet the increasing demands of domestic and international tourists.

Many office buildings and trade centres in HCM City, such as Bitexco, have also hired foreign real estate service providers from the US, France, Australia and the UK.

Several domestic companies have poured money into buying franchise rights of well- known foreign real estate companies in order to offer services in Viet Nam under their names.

At the beginning of October, the general director of Minh Viet Invest Joint Stock Company announced that his company had brought the Coldwell Banker trademark to Viet Nam. Under a franchise agreement, his company will be permitted to use the trademark for 25 years for consulting, brokering, managing and developing real estate.

Most experts agreed that the quality of Vietnamese companies was not the cause for the imbalance.

"The quality of Vietnamese real estate service companies is very good. They can meet all customer demands," affirmed Le Nhat Ky, head of marketing at Dong A Real Estate Joint Stock Company.

General Director of Megagroup Nguyen Xuan Chau agreed, saying the market was driving this reality, it's not that domestic companies were weak.

Chau explained that real estate services companies in foreign countries were born a long time ago, so they had richer experience compared to Vietnamese companies.

The popularity of foreign goods had also contributed to the problem, experts said, saying that Vietnamese people often believed foreign products were better than domestic ones. They added that domestic companies did not have famous trademarks.

Nevertheless, many foreign real estate companies have recently hired domestic service companies to help them manage their projects in Viet Nam because they understand the customs of Vietnamese people.

"It's primarily the big projects that hire foreign service companies. Others still come to Vietnamese companies for the service," said Ky.

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