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Ngoun Chhayleang, CEO of Ratanaka Realty, explains his staff where to find the most relevant property news. Photo supplied

Local real estate agents consider dropping Century21

While many local businesses are looking to foster relationships with international partners, or buy the franchise rights or shares of well-known multinational corporations in order to expose their businesses internationally, a few real estate agents are reconsidering their franchise choice and are looking to leave the multinational umbrella.

Ngoun Chhayleang, chief executive officer of Ratanaka Realty, said his company had bought a franchise from Century21 in 2014, but has recently stopped using the franchise name these last few months.

“The reason is because Ratanaka Realty solely focuses on the local middle-class population and up, so to elimate our clients’ hesitation, we decided to stop using the international franchise name,” he said.

The company’s decision has not caused any problems with Century21, he said, as Ratanaka Realty had clearly presented the reasons why it ended its franchise operations.

Declining to reveal the amount of money his company had to pay annually to use Century21’s brand name, Chayleang said the venture had provided some success.

“Buying the franchise of this internationally-known company has helped our company in many aspects. For instance, it helped expand our recognition, and increased the international market’s confidence in liaising with our company. Most importantly, [Century21] was able to train and share their experiences about the property market.”

Nevertheless, while Ratanaka Realty aims to cater to the local market, the company’s management committee has created a sub-branch called Regent Realty that caters to the international market. Regent Realty will be branded as a Century21 franchise so as to appeal to investors from Taiwan and Singapore.

Aside from the benefits generated from being a franchisee of a well-known international brand, there are also some disadvantages for local businesses

“In Cambodia’s market, our local clients mistakenly believe that all companies under the Century21 brand are the same companies, while in fact, they are all different,” said Chayleang.

“After we stopped using the franchise name, Ratanaka Realty’s efficiency increased by 25 per cent. We have recently succeeded in selling a 1.5-hectare land plot along National Road 2, which was ultimately divided into 47 land plots, in just a few months.”

On the other hand, another local real estate agent, Century21 Garuda Realty, is contemplating whether or not to discontinue their franchise status, with most of the company’s shareholders expecting to reach a verdict in the near future.

Kheang Puthy, chief executive officer of Century21 Garuda Realty, said the company had bought the franchise from Century21 in May last year.

“[The] four to five months afterwards were merely to set up operation systems such as human resource, IT, and financial systems for our business. It wasn’t until December that we started to fully operate.”

“During that time, [Century21] helped train our human resource, but after our company’s management team attended the classes, they noticed that it wouldn’t be effective in the actual market because the lessons [were different] to how we would operate the business in real life.”

“I think it might be because market knowledge abroad is not compatible with the market in Cambodia, and there are culture barriers as well. Therefore, [Century21] should attempt to make changes or further study [local markets],” he explained.

He expressed his concerns, saying that “we are more worried about wasting even more time that might result in potential losses.”

Century21 Cambodia’s CEO was unavailable for comment yesterday. However, according to its website, Century21 Cambodia currently lists 10 local real estate companies that are operating under the franchise.

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