Porta Mondial awards development licence for Southeast Asia and master licence for Thailand
First estate agency opening planned for 2014 in Bangkok
“Amazing Thailand” is the Thai Tourist Authority’s slogan. It’s spot on – because those who have once relaxed on the gorgeous white beaches of Koh Samui, Koh Samet or Phuket, or experienced the vibrant capital, Bangkok, at first hand nearly always fall under Thailand’s spell – an unparalleled mix of traditional and modern, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery and unique cultural artefacts.
It was like that for Hilmar Omran too, when he first went to Thailand more than 8 years ago. Captivated by the country and its people, the Cologne native holidayed there on many more occasions, finally deciding that he would like to make Thailand his new home. A partner in the Cologne IT company, osite network, Omran found an opportunity to do so in 2009. The German real estate software developer, Flowfact AG, offered the businessman the job of modifying software solutions for the Thai market and distributing them locally. While the company in Cologne – which offers cross-industry IT services – continues to be run by his partner, Hilmar Omran runs osite network’s Asian subsidiary which has its head office in Bangkok.
Good estate agency network
By distributing Flowfact CRM and real estate software, the entrepreneur came into close contact with the local estate agency business which is entirely unlike its German counterpart. There are still very few stand-alone estate agencies, for example. As Hilmar Omran points out, local estate agents tend to rent space in office buildings. In his view, the Thai real estate market is very interesting for estate agents which is why the major international franchise systems and a few British estate agency chains have already set up shop in Bangkok.
Interesting market potential
“There is huge potential, particularly in the luxury segment. It’s not unusual to see properties in Bangkok going for 150 million baht, which is about 3.5 million euros,”
the market expert says. While most buyers are Thai, foreign investors are also buying into high-end apartment complexes. It is precisely in this segment that he sees a suitable market niche. When he heard about the dynamically-growing “Porta Mondial” franchise system, he was immediately impressed by its combination of high-end market image and innovative use of technology.
“The Porta Mondial green alone – which is reminiscent of Rolex and Jaguar – will be a big hit in Thailand. Then there is the upmarket brand design that is evident at all levels – on the Internet, in the estate agencies, and in all advertising material. The Thais are eager for European brands that signal high value,”
Hilmar Omran says.
First Porta Mondial estate agency in Bangkok
Since the IT specialist prefers to continue working in distribution rather than getting actively involved in selling real estate, Porta Mondial’s offer of a development licence greatly appealed to him. As Porta Mondial’s development partner, he exclusively took over the licence to award (master) franchise licences in Southeast Asia in September 2013. To ensure that the system is also “tangible” locally, and to gather initial experience in this market, he also acquired the master licence for Thailand. He is planning to open the first pilot estate agency in Bangkok in 2014.
Targeting estate agents
Above and beyond that, Hilmar Omran has plenty more ideas of how best to adapt the Porta Mondial franchise system for the Thai market. His primary target group are local estate agents who want to join a brand that is enjoying powerful growth. He is also open to “drop-outs” from his home country. “In the software industry we are currently seeing a big rise in the number of European IT specialists who want to emigrate.”
Omran wants to put together a suitable training programme for German estate agents interested in starting business in Thailand. There is plenty of work there at present, with Bangkok in particular numbering amongst the world’s booming cities, and the quality of life in the “Land of Smiles” is high. The Porta Mondial development partner believes that there will be a further surge towards this economic region with the planned ratification of the “Asian Community” – an alliance of Asian states based on the EU model – in 2015. Singapore is the next Master region that Hilmar Omran intends to develop with a suitable local partner.