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Business centers – a practical trend for international firms

Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 08:00 GMT+7

Official reports lately have pointed out that while Grade A office buildings’ occupancy rate is currently in high demand, the asking rent is continually increasing. Therefore, business centers are not only a reasonable, but also a practical option for international firms in Vietnam, as experts predict.

According to the newest CBRE report, there aren’t any new suppliers of commercial rental properties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which has helped stabilize market rents in recent quarters. In Hanoi, the average asking rent of Grade A commercial space increased slightly by 0.3 percent quarter on quarter (q-o-q), while that of Grade B commercial space went down by 0.9 percent q-o-q in the reviewed quarter.

Meanwhile, in Ho Chi Minh City, both of Grade A and Grade B buildings recorded improvements in occupancy. While Grade A’s occupancy rate increased by 1ppt q-o-q, reaching over 93 percent; Grade B’s went up by 3ppts q-o-q to 90 percent. Grade A office space recorded a net take-up of 3,800sqm while there was more than 23,000sqm of Grade B space taken up.

Due to the lack of new suppliers of commercial rental properties recorded in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, asking rents are forecasted to increase given more foreign direct investment after the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On the other hand, it can be seen that choices for office locations for international clients, especially with convenient access to different parts of the city and with reasonable prices, are few and far between. Average prices of Grade A commercial space is around US$40/m²/month and with the minimum floor area at 150m², leaving a tenant with around $6,000/month in rent. This is considered to be a sizable budget amount for a foreign representative office with two or three employees in the process of exploring the Vietnamese market.

Business centers are a new trend

Over the last two years, many experts have helped increase awareness as to the benefits of business centers, particularly among startups and representative offices of international companies, who need impressive offices with small footprints. Business centers meet these criteria by giving flexible and collaborative workspaces, and providing a more communal purpose-built space.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a business center is that a tenant can walk immediately into a fully-furnished and equipped office, which is of the highest quality, regularly maintained, cared for and updated right after they sign a service contract.

Furthermore, business centers incorporate a shared environment including security deposits and other start-up expenses that usually end up being much higher than originally estimated. Tenants don’t have additional recurring monthly expenses such as paying for security guards, maids, receptionists, telecom services, building operating fees, repairs and maintenance, utility bills and so forth.

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Quality requirements

“Sometimes I was on the verge of losing my patience as Vietnamese suppliers seemed like they didn’t understand my requirements. I don’t think that kind of low-quality customer service can satisfy foreign companies which have been working with more professional suppliers in our home countries,” said Mr. Brown – representative of an American company in Ho Chi Minh City.

As international clients always require professional services including technically-qualified teams, the teams always have to be available on hand throughout the day to take care of any problems and ensure there’s little or no downtime. In addition, staff vacations, sick and personal leave are covered so clients have no reason to worry.

Business centers also offer benefits in dealing with complicated documentation procedures in Vietnam. “If they pay for a high-quality service, the supplier has to be professional and offer a fantastic workplace which is inspiring and a great image-booster as well. That means although business centers seem like an efficient choice for clients, local suppliers should think about more than just costs,” said Madam Cuc – Chairwoman of G-Office.

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Vietnamese suppliers are ready for strict requirements

Despite high requirements from international tenants, local experts believe that Vietnamese suppliers, in recent years, have become more professional in order to grab the attention of clients. They offer a number of service packages that are suitable for distinctive demands.

G-Office, a leader in providing serviced offices in the business center of Ho Chi Minh City, is an excellent example. Understanding that one of the top requirements from international clients is that the office’s location is situated in the center of the city, G-Office is concentrating on offering new offices which are located on the 15th floor of Vincom tower, which is the most high-end building in the city.

G-Office also promotes a unique service at Vincom tower that any director or CEO would choose to work in a private VIP room which is fully furnished with services such as telephone, faxes, Wi-Fi, fridges, director-chairs; and enjoy other co-workspace like conference or meeting rooms, reception areas, kitchens or pantries, and washrooms. This package is beyond any expectation as clients just pay-per-use. With all the services and facilities, the price is a bargain at $150/month. G-Office also offers working rooms for a team whose price ranges from $650/month in the same building.

“We not only offer diversified services but also express our professionalism with a qualified team that can work well in both tasks and viral communication. To us, customer service is the most important thing to gain clients’ loyalty,” said proudly Madam Cuc – Chairwoman of G-Office.

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