Kwanrudee Maneewongwatthana, Raimon Land Plc’s Deputy Vice-President for Marketing, shares her company’s plan for the future and how they plan to save the environment.
It’s quite an exciting time for Thailand’s property market at the moment. How does Raimon Land plan to take advantage of the country’s upbeat economic climate?
Within the last three years, Raimon Land has moved forward to become more than a luxury property developer. Our strategy has been to diversify our portfolio from the ultra-luxury niche to include mid and high-end segments through the development of new brands. This new approach has resulted in a much stronger Thai customer base and a more reliable platform for future growth.
We see strong demand for condominiums from first homebuyers. The market in resort destinations like Pattaya is also doing well due to customers seeking a second home for weekends or holidays.
Meanwhile, we continue to deliver the quality products which have made Raimon Land’s reputation. Our experience in the luxury market has proved very valuable to understand client’s expectations.
Other developers in the region are venturing overseas. Does Raimon Land plan to do the same?
This is a possibility for the future, as we have a team with extensive international experience and strong capabilities for exploring and assessing foreign markets. But for the time being, we are concentrating on our projects in Thailand.
A number of property developers in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are venturing into the mid-end of the market to tap into the growing number of middle-class. Does Raimon Land see itself as doing the same in Thailand?
This is precisely what we have done within the last three years with our diversification strategy. In addition to the ultra-luxury niche, we have added high-end and mid segments in our offer, through the development of new brands like Zire, Unixx and Lofts. As mentioned earlier, this new approach resulted in a larger customer base and a more reliable platform for future growth. At the same time, we make sure that we keep in the DNA of each new brand that special ‘Raimon Land touch’.
Another trend we see in South-East Asia is to partner with well-known foreign brands (such as Trump, Ritz-Carlton and Raffles). Does Raimon Land see itself doing the same?
Our experience shows that Thai customers place much emphasis on the inherent qualities of a brand and are not as influenced by foreign names as in other markets. However, this kind of partnership might be appropriate for properties with a large number of foreign customers. Our approach on this will be pragmatic.
What exciting future projects does Raimon Land have in the pipeline that investors should watch out for?
Raimon Land currently has five projects in the pipeline, representing a total sales value of THB35.2 billion ($1.1 billion). Units are now available for sale in each of them, with show suites ready to welcome interested buyers.
In Bangkok, we have two exciting projects:
The River, which offers a breathtaking view of the legendary Chao Phraya and Bangkok’s skyline. The project is now completed and transfers to homeowners started at the end of June. Since its launch, The River has been a flagship project in Bangkok’s residential scene, with a riverfront location that is hard to beat. The remaining 20% of total units are still available for sale, but not for long, I think.
185 Rajadamri is our most exclusive project to date, along historic Rajadamri Road. This is the last high-end freehold project in this area, with a fantastic view on the Bangkok Sports Club and Lumpini Park. This property boasts it all: prestige, character, convenience and soul. Sixty per cent of the project’s saleable area has already been sold.
In Pattaya, we have three projects which can appeal to all kinds of customers:
Unixx South Pattaya is our latest project in this resort destination. Since its launch at the end of 2011, it has received a warm response from customers looking for a quality product within a reasonable budget. With the Unixx brand, we are targeting a younger generation of homeowners looking for a combination of affordability, quality, style and convenience. Our research shows that customers do not necessarily want big spaces; they simply want a hassle-free, convenient place to relax during weekends and holidays.
Zire Wongamat, located along North Pattaya’s most prestigious cove, is a superior choice for young families who are looking for a more quiet second home right on the beach. It comprises two towers, the 37-storey North Tower, and the 54-storey South Tower. The North Tower was sold out within one year after the project launch.
Northpoint, recognised as the ‘Best Condo Development in the Eastern Seaboard’, is our most luxurious project in Pattaya. It offers a mix of luxury units, duplexes and penthouses as well as excellent facilities such as a fitness centre with state of the art equipment, swimming pools, sky gardens and tiered sun decks. We still have a few units for sale. We are proud that Northpoint has become a reference in the booming residential market in Pattaya.
What do you think will be the trend in South-East Asia’s property market 5 or 10 years from now?
This is a difficult question to answer as the market changes rapidly. However, our research lets us anticipate an increasing cross-regional demand from middle classes. We believe that future customers will ask for quality and eco-friendly products, a segment in which Raimon Land has lots of experience. Our properties have been pioneers in the development of green technologies, with efficient air conditioning systems, green landscape areas and so on.
Speaking of eco-friendly development, Raimon Land has a number of environmental sustainability programmes. Is this part of the company’s overall strategy to position itself as the region’s leader in terms of environmental sustainability?
Our company has always paid attention to environmental preservation, in line with our corporate motto: ‘Raimon Land…developing a better environment’. Throughout the years, we have developed partnerships with NGOs such as the Plant-A-Tree-Today Foundation (PATT), which has established a tree nursery in the Khao Yai National Park and helps educate children on environmental issues.
The company is also quite active in promoting Thai arts and culture.
As a good corporate citizen, we simply believe that promoting the Thai culture can bring unity and harmony to the country which is our company’s homeland.
Tell us more about Pang Raimon.
Pang Raimon is a 4-year-old female elephant who has been adopted by Raimon Land since its birth in 2008. Pang Raimon lives happily in a natural habitat at the Anantara Elephant Camp in Chiang Rai province. Through this long-term sponsorship, we want to show our commitment to supporting one of Thailand’s national symbols.
By Rodel Ambas
13 December 2012