The story of Mr. Duong Van Beo that we mentioned in the last installment is a small example of the consistent operation of Phu My Hung as a whole. This urban area offers a good lesson of master planning and its management.
As mentioned, before breaking ground for his building, Beo had to put up VND3000 million as deposit for Phu My Hung. Had Beo violated construction regulations – from design, safety standard to environment - part the deposit would have been deducted as a fine. When construction finished three years later, he got back the sum in full. Beo said construction management was really strict at that time when Phu My Hung was still in charge. After the task was transferred to the local government, it “is not as good as before.”
Investors wouldn’t want to put their money in a place where they are not sure how it would change in the future. They would definitely choose a place where they can be confident of its future, even though it may not look as such for the time being. It’s something we can realize when we see the “big wigs” who have “accompanied” Phu My Hung.
One of them is Mr. Hoang Khai, better known as Khai Silk, who owns various shopping malls, palaces, resorts, restaurants and shops across Vietnam.
Mr. Hoang Khai. Photo provided.
He opened Saigon Paragon shopping center in Phu My Hung in Jul. 2009. This US$35 million building was magnificently designed like a palace, with 19,000 sq.m. for shopping mall, 4,000 sq.m. for entertainment activities, and 15,000 sq.m. for office space. The international standard building has always been crowded since its opening, and was fully booked even during the economic slowdown.
Several years later, also in PMH, Khai opened yet another unique building, the white palace Taimasago, located next to the Crescent Lake. This $15 million is a super luxury resort featuring 19 rooms of different interior designs and a splendid 260 sq.m. President Suite.
Khai Silk’s third building in PMH is the famous Charm Charm Restaurant. This 5,000 sq.m. can host 600 diners and is known as a unique “culinary gallery” that features a wide range of luxurious dishes and 1,300 kinds of wines and alcohols.
But we neither want to describe the beauty of Khai’s buildings nor discuss his business model or investment effectiveness, which have been analyzed by many other authors. Nor is there a correlation between Khai’s business and the business of PMH. However, there is a reciprocal tie. Khai told us that after 10 years running businesses in PMH, he feels they were a success. While some achievements are visible, some others are invisible, and he is completely pleased with them, Khai said.
What Khai likes best in PMH is a good standard of master planning, which he said gives an impression that PMH is like an urban area in a developed country. Ever since the area was “little more than a swamp” Khai decided to invest dozens of millions of dollars in it because, as he said, he saw the future in that master plan. The places where his three buildings are located now used to be deserted fields then. He incurred losses in the first 4-5 years after launching the businesses because PMH was not fully developed. But his investment was paid off along the amazing growth rate of PMH. There are now four shopping malls in PMH, and Khai believes there will be more of them in the future. Had he not been confident in the standard master planning of PMH and the area’s enormous business potentials, he probably may not have made such considerable investments in here.
The companion of such investors as Khai with PMH has been smooth, harmonious and without any obstacle. When good-willed and professional partners meet, they will always work out good conditions for co-development.
Thirty years after the beginning of reforms in Vietnam, the economy has fundamentally shifted to a market-based one. Part of the population have become richer, and the number of people living in poverty has reduced. That is exactly what President Ho Chi Minh dreamed of 67 years ago when he wrote about trying to “help the poor earn enough to live on, help those who earn enough get rich, and help the rich become richer.”
The good management and lifestyle “as if in a foreign developed country” are often cited in every discussion about PMH. Khai, however, said that while it’s true that many foreigners live in PMH, the number of Vietnamese residents is much higher. PMH is, therefore, an example of high domestic living standard which businesses like Khai’s have contributed to establish. Vietnamese investors, from Khai to Beo, can not only walk abreast with investors from other countries but also provide the best products and services that can be offered elsewhere in the world.