Mr. Lee Jong Kook, General Director of Lotte Coralis Vietnam, spoke to VET about its business plans and the prospects for Vietnam's real estate market.
■ What are your thoughts on the performance in 2015 of the office space for lease and serviced residences at the Lotte Hanoi Center?
2015 remained a difficult year for real estate investors. However, in terms of reputation as a landmark building in Vietnam’s capital among our customers for having the best facilities and customer services, we have achieved considerable success in a short period of time.
Our serviced residences saw 80 per cent occupancy in 2015. Office space for lease, meanwhile, also recorded positive performance. Even though we have reached a certain level of success there is still a long haul ahead for the company in Vietnam.
■ What are your forecasts for the performance of office space for lease and serviced residences in Vietnam in 2016 as the country further integrates into the global economy by signing free trade agreement (FTAs) such as the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) as well as the TPP?
We are quite optimistic about the real estate market in 2016. With FTAs such as the EVFTA and the TPP Vietnam is opening its doors to foreign investors.
Many foreign companies will need to establish an office in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and also provide high-quality housing for their expat staff. We believe this demand will boost the performance of serviced residences and the office space for lease market in Vietnam in 2016.
■ What are your business plans in office space for lease and serviced residences at the Lotte Hanoi Center in 2016?
We target an occupancy rate of 95 per cent in our serviced residences and 80 per cent in our office space for lease in 2016.
We will promote business activities in our office space for lease, which holds advantages such as prime location, international services and standards, and new and modern facilities compared with our competitors in the market.
With experience in developing and managing complexes in many countries around the world we are confident of reaching our business targets in 2016.
■ Is Lotte Coralis seeking opportunities to expand its development and investment in Vietnam? If so, what real estate segments are the most attractive?
Vietnam is a strategic market for the Lotte Group. Lotte also has a reinvestment strategy. Together with the remarkable Lotte Hanoi Center project, all of the Lotte brands will expand their operations in the market. With more projects coming in the near future, we hope to demonstrate our sincere long-term business plan in Vietnam.
Based on our core corporate values of quality and passion, we will still focus on complexes that consist of shopping centers, hotels, serviced residences, and office space for lease. Lotte Vietnam will continue to contribute to Vietnam’s economy and industry through expanding its investment.
■ In 2015 the real estate market attracted significant capital flows, including foreign direct investment (FDI), remittances, and investment from individual investors. What are your thoughts on the trends in capital flows?
In 2016 we forecast that the real estate market will attract significant capital flows from those sources.
This is because the Korea-Vietnam FTA, the TPP, and the EVFTA will see Vietnam further integrate into the global economy and become an attractive destination for foreign investors.