Mey Plek Bora got his education in Japan learning Cambodian culture and custom at the same time. The Cambodian CEO with Japanese as his first language puts efforts into three projects including construction and interior decoration, cosmetics, and real estates. We asked him about what to keep in mind when doing business in Cambodia.
Interview date April 2nd, 2018
(Interviewed at: April, 2018)
Mr. Mey Plek Bora : CEO of Kanagawa cop.
I’m working with great people
— Please introduce yourself
I was born in Siem Reap in 1979, during the Pol Pot era. Soon after I was born, my family moved to a refugee camp close to the border with Thailand. When I was two years old we moved to Yamato City in Kanagawa as refugees. I spent my primary and secondary education in Sagamihara, then I studied in Beijing, China. I married to a Korean classmate and we lived in Japan, but we came back to Cambodia in 2011. Currently, I focus on the three projects: cosmetics, construction and interior design, and real estate.
— What have you been doing before focusing on these three? How come you decided to focus on them?
I have done various projects. Secondhand cars, cafe, agriculture, and so on… But I had to stop and look at all the business I had been doing again because of such reasons that I could not build good “Cambodian style” business relationship with the customers, I failed to predict the market trends, and allocated a huge loss. Among these businesses, I decided to invest in the three fields for several reasons. Namely that I have strong experiences and knowledge in the three fields, and that customers are happy with what I was doing, and that they are one of the growing fields. And especially because I knew that I was working with great people including the customers, staff, and subcontractors.
The importance of not deciding only by the price without consideration
— What are your main duties in the construction industry?
Majority of it is interior design and renovations for shops. Our specialty is dealing with small- to middle-scale buildings just like offices in a town rather than large-scale buildings. Buildings in Cambodia have quite a few problems because of several reasons, so we do our best to offer long-term maintenance and quick response to sudden troubles. We do not just build and end the relationship. Also, we take many inquiries about any troubles even if the building’s not constructed by us, and we deal with any small cases such as exchanging light bulbs.
I have received education and am native in Japnese. So I have the Japanese value judgment, and I completely understand the mind of the Japanese customers. At the same time, I grew up learning the Cambodian culture and customs. So I also understand the mind of Cambodian customers. I think my most important duty is to find solutions to the severe needs of Japanese customers within the Cambodian environment
— What part do you pay extra attention to when placing orders of construction and interior design in Cambodia
Not deciding only by the price, I would say. Getting an estimate is essential when choosing a constructor, but it’s important not deciding only by the price without consideration even if they offer cheap options. It’s mandatory to request estimates from 3 companies or so and know the market price. The point is whether they clarify the details of the cost such as material cost and so on. Rough estimates may include extra cost. In short, the most important factor in choosing Cambodian constructors is whether they understand and act the concept of “Ho Ren So (Report, Communicate, Consult)”. Of course, the brand names and rich experiences are important, but I think judging them through thorough communication is the key.
Contribute to the development of Japan and Cambodia
— Please tell us about the real estate business. What is your specialty regarding real estate?
We are a general broker, so of course, we offer rental housing mediation for offices, shops, and apartments, but we receive many requests for land trading. Normally foreigners are not eligible to purchase lands in Cambodia, but if we buy lands for them and they make a type of contract called Nominee contract, they can purchase lands without breaking the law.
Nominee contract allows us to hold lands on behalf of the owners. We sign Nominee contract with the owners and promise the whole ownership of the land to belong to the owner. We only receive the commission fee when a trade is established. Other expenses like tax and fee for a lawyer will be adjusted at the actual cost. The majority of our customers are Japanese and Korean.
— Are there any points to be careful about when purchasing lands on a Nominee contract?
It might be a common sense, but you should sign a contract with someone whom you can trust. I hear many rumors about troubles such as companies requiring an extra amount of money and lands which is not for sale at all. I think it also helps avoid troubles to search for yourself and acquire the sense of the market price.
We are willing to help for free with questions and inquiries about the market prices and your budget for a particular land, so please do not hesitate to contact us.
— For the final question, do you have any messages to the readers?
Yes, I named my company with “Kanagawa” after the safe life my family spent in Kanagawa prefecture in Japan. This enables us to live in Cambodia healthy and to do our business here. To remember the gratitude I named my company after consulting my parents, who lived through the harder times. Therefore, I will be more than happy to offer any help we can for the development of both Japan and Cambodia.
- Kanagawa cop
- Real Estate, Construction & Interior