The WorldBridge Group is one of the biggest conglomerates in Cambodia. Its core business is in providing comprehensive solutions for transport and logistics and property developments. In 2017,
in response to a call from the Royal Government to address the 1.5 million housing backlog in Cambodia, the company started a new business line on low-cost housing.
The company purchased 45 hectares of land, 14km south of the Phnom Penh central business district to build housing for low-income families. By the end of 2020, the company had built 2,457 houses (up from 400 in 2018); it will scale this up to 4,000 by 2023. Houses are typically 2-storey buildings on small lots of up to 80 sqm. The company sells a 56 sqm house typically for $25,000 to $30,000. The company has also developed a special financing scheme which reduces the high-financing cost that low-income families normally pay when borrowing from banks. The houses are sold typically to low-income families (not the poor) with a monthly income of $500-$700.
The company is also applying its low-cost model to the development of commercial shophouses and is studying the development of safe and compliant dormitories for factory workers.Furthermore, the business line—having started small—has a clear vision to be a partner of choice of the Cambodian government in the provision of affordable housing to low- and middle-income Cambodian.
Given the positive social impacts of the project (especially large reach and good targeting), the good commercial performance, and the innovative financing mechanisms, the low-cost housing business model of WorldBridge can be classified as an IB model.