Property developer Tulip Group says ‘it comes down to hard work, a great product, a strong team, and generally a fair slice of luck’
By Percy Roxas
Q&A with Jason Payne, Vice President, Tulip Group
Q: What’s the best way to describe the Tulip Group?
A: Tulip is a company that builds and develops only the best in luxury properties. Our condominiums are branded residences, a condominium/hotel mix. We are also developing a number of stand-alone hotels. We are a forward-thinking company, trying to offer clients something different.
Q: What made you decide to start this business in Thailand?
A: The driving force behind the company is my CEO, Kobi Elbaz, it was his vision to start Tulip Group, and together we have developed the business model that we have today. I have been in Thailand for 14 Years, and have been in property development, design, and marketing since I first arrived. Kobi is extremely hardworking and is passionate about what we are doing. In fact everyone in Tulip Group has the same dedication as both Kobi and myself.
Q: Have you always been in this industry?
A: As I say Kobi set up the company, I have always been involved with real estate, whether it has been developing as I am today, or in London when I was involved in corporate property finance.
Q: How successful would you say Tulip Group has been based on your 2012 results?
A: 2012 was indeed a good year, 620 sales valued at just under five billion baht, which I was happy with. However, more than the sales this year, we are particularly happy with how our company profile has risen. This is just as satisfying for me personally as the sales figures.
Q: Please share with us the secret of your business’ success?
A: Ah there is no secret to success. I would say it comes down to hard work, a great product, a strong team and generally a fair slice of luck. I personally have developed a number of luxury housing estates, and Kobi as a development partner with Nova Group Thailand has completed The Cliff Residence and Nova Ocean View, Tulip has four condominiums and five hotels currently under construction.
Q: What’s your target for 2013? Please tell us more about this:
A: We have not set any targets for 2013 as far as new projects, although we are in negotiation with a number of very large hotel operators, these negotiations are very positive so it is likely we will launch possibly two-three new hotels and condominiums in the last quarter of this year. Our goal this year is to move forward quickly with the construction of our current projects.
Q: What makes Pattaya a great base and so appealing for property developers?
A: Pattaya has so much to offer. What I like about it is that it is changing every day, we now see more and more families visiting, and Thai families from Bangkok are returning. Sure infrastructure needs to be improved, and the city’s image is still not amazing, but I think the mayor is doing a great job, and Pattaya is improving considerably.
Q: Please describe the current status of the Pattaya property market, especially the luxury property segment Tulip Group is primarily targeting?
A: I would say in general the market here is strong. I personally have my concerns over the amount of new projects that are being launched in the low-end sector, I would say that the luxury property segment is still reasonably untouched, and this was the main reason that our business model was to only work in this sector.
As mentioned before we have nine projects being developed exclusively under Tulip Group. However, Kobi is developments partner in a further five other projects in the city.
Q: How would you compare your Thai clients from foreign clients?
A: It is very project specific when I look at the ratio. As an example, our Centara Grand Residence Project is currently 90%-Thai buyers, but our Waterfront project is around 75% foreign, the other projects all around 60-40 foreign. I am very happy with these ratios. In Pattaya, most developers generally find it difficult to sell to Thai buyers. We do not have this problem. I put this down to the fact that our buyers are fully experienced with the benefits of branded residences in Bangkok, and having this concept in a holiday home, I feel is what is drawing them to our projects.
Q: Tell us more about yourself?
A: I’m originally from London, my childhood dream was to play professional football, but that dream was dashed when the club I was with released me at the age of 15, and it was at that point that my father told me to work hard at my education and as he put it “get a real job.” It certainly hasn’t been a royal road to success, but I’d like to think that I have seen a small amount of success by working hard, and believing in what I was doing.
Q: How would you describe yourself today?
A: I think I would let other people around me answer that question.
Q: What else would you like to achieve?
A: Right now there is nothing specific I want to achieve, my goal is to continue working with Kobi to make Tulip Group as strong as possible. This can only be done by ensuring that our projects are of the best quality and completed on time.
Q: What tips can you give to those who want to buy a property in Thailand, in Pattaya?
A: Take your time and view as many properties as possible.