Cambodia: High-end construction material demand up

The growth in the Kingdom’s construction sector – particularly the building of condominiums, commercial centres and residential zones – has pushed the demand for high-end construction materials and furniture, especially products imported from Europe and the Americas. Cambodia also imports lower-cost products from China, Vietnam and Thailand.
Hong Limtong, general manager of CBMS Trading Co Ltd, a supplier of high-end products, spoke to The Post’s Hin Pisei about the development.

How has your company captured a share of the high-end construction products market?
CBMS Trading Co Ltd launched in 2015 to tap into the market of high-quality construction materials and furniture, seeing that high-rise construction is on the rise. The company’s sales have grown by more than 50 per cent annually.

We have supplied our materials to some large projects that have chosen us to equip their buildings – such as Exchange Square, Vattanac Tower and Aeon Mall Sen Sok City.
CBMS Trading currently has exclusive rights to import products to Cambodia from firms including Hilti, Pergo, Ligman, Imer and Rinnai. These materials come from countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Japan.

How has the high-end products trend evolved in the Kingdom?
Preferences within the Kingdom’s construction sector for using high-quality materials and furniture compared to previous decades is rapidly progressing. Consumers previously looked exclusively for cheaper materials, even though they knew they would not last particularly long time and were less safe. But now they have switched to high-cost products that will save them time and money as well.

From 2015 to now, I can say that people are shifting from low-cost products to medium- and high-end products due to the boom in the construction sector.

What is your opinion on the country’s construction sector?
The construction sector now, compared to five or six years ago, is very different, especially over the last two years.
The large influx of Chinese tourists and the arrival of investors has contributed to a rapid surge in major buildings, especially in Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk province and some areas along Cambodia’s borders. Economic growth and political stability are key forces in boosting the construction sector’s momentum now.

What are the challenges facing the market?
Though the trend of using high-end products is increasing, prices hinder the company’s sales when compared to products imported from neighbouring countries.However, people’s awareness of good quality products is now also increasing gradually.

I’d like to say that, in fact, using low quality products will not be profitable for consumers in terms of budget, time and health and safety.

Does your company plan to expand?
So far the company has two headquarters in Phnom Penh, employs more than 50 people and enjoys a nationwide dealer network. In the future, owing to the high demand for construction materials in Preah Sihanouk province, the company may open more branches there.’

The company’s goal is to develop itself as the leading construction materials supply centre in Cambodia. I think that as Cambodia’s economy continues to grow, so demand for high-quality products will grow even more in the future.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.