Realestate.com.kh celebrated its seventh anniversary of operations in the Kingdom in February this year—a landmark for both the company’s founders and the fast-growing Cambodian e-commerce sector.
As the first mover in the online classified space for real estate in Cambodia—a market worth billions worldwide—Realestate.com.kh positions itself as a digital marketing partner for the leading real estate agencies, property developers and money lenders in Cambodia, essentially catching traffic from google searches and converting this traffic flow into direct sales, rental and home loan leads for its customers.
Realestate.com.kh’s parent company, Digital Classifieds Group (DCG), is based in Australia with classifieds websites across three Asia Pacific markets. The group announced last month the addition to its board of directors of Tim White, founder and ex-CEO of leading Australian real estate portal, www.allhomes.com.au; a website that White recently sold to Fairfax Media for over $54 million.
With the appointment of a such an experienced partner, and sustained growth across all its active markets, DCG looks set to continue to expand its presence in Cambodia and across Southeast Asia.
DCG’s entry into the Cambodian market and the rise of Realestate.com.kh is also a local success story for the website’s founder and majority shareholder, Cambodian national Moek Chenda.
Chenda comes from an IT background, and was involved in the early creation and installment of IT systems for the Phnom Penh International Airport around 10 years ago. He also spent a large part of his early career developing and implementing CRM and website systems for local real estate agencies.
Chenda launched Realestate.com.kh in 2009, using just one of the prime domain names he had purchased five years prior on the advice of a foreign colleague he had worked alongside during the airport project. In its early years, the website was solely managed by Chenda, with more and more local real estate vendors slowly but surely beginning to use his service.
“When I was first building the website, my wife used to always bother me for wasting my time on it. She didn’t believe I could ever make money from it. She didn’t believe that websites made money, full stop,” recalled Chenda.
“And it’s true. Before the market didn’t believe that a website could produce quality sales leads for their agency or project either. Many didn’t understand the value of SEO and the internet, that is, outside of basic Facebook marketing.”
The business took off on all new legs in early 2015 when Chenda entered into a joint venture agreement with DCG, with the website appointing Australian expatriate Tom O’Sullivan, as CEO.
“When I met Tom, I could immediately tell that these guys had the passion and the know-how to grow my business quickly, and I immediately trusted them,” said Chenda.
O’Sullivan admitted to feeling he had just stumbled across the ideal partner without really trying. “We saw that the domain www.Realestate.com.kh was active, and had been for some time, so we reached out to meet the owner. When we met Chenda, it was clear he was the right choice as a local partner.”
“He knows his trade inside out, and his connections within the industries, both IT and real estate, have proven invaluable,” added O’Sullivan. “Furthermore, he’s just a great guy to work and spend time with.”