A History of Quality Sports Construction in South East Asia

A History of Quality Sports Construction in South East Asia

When the founders of Sports Engineering And Recreation Asia Ltd (Seara) first established their presence in Bangkok in 1991, a strategic decision was made to only build to International standards.

This was not only a business marketing strategy but an important branding strategy that would take years to pay off. “We saw that in markets like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, certain segments of sports construction were building to international standards. We decided to just wait the market out until it flowed north.” says Canadian Patrick Dean, one of the two founders.

The exception to that rule was the high-end hospitality industry that was just taking off. Seara primarily built its reputation for high quality sports facilities, constructing tennis courts at branded hotels and resorts.

Radical market change happened as the region began to pick its way out of the Asian financial crisis. Beginning in the middle of 2000, property developers who survived the shake out or were just entering the market but were determined to professionalise their business model started paying more attention to their amenities and how it affected their own branding. Suddenly, Seara-built tennis courts started appearing at condominiums, housing communities, and non-branded hotels and resorts.The upshift then turned to fitness flooring and outdoor futsal arenas.

Commercial football teams began to upgrade their playing fields and their brand positioning. Schools and government facilities started installing more varied and higher quality facilities. Finally, urbanisation and growth of the middle class made some of the golf courses built in the 1990s begin living up to their promise by providing genuine country club facilities for the whole family.

Such success has come through careful attention to detail and selecting the best product for the regions’ specific conditions on the ground. “There have been some painful local learning experiences” say Patrick Dean. “But we have never run away from a job, always made it right, and we never make the same mistake twice”.

Today Seara is the market leader in providing international standard facilities that meet the standards set by each sport’s governing body. Whether acting as a technical consultant before doing the critical specialty surfacing work or doing the entire job turn-key, Seara excels in its experience of construction techniques and applying surfacing materials that last in the extremes of weather and soil conditions in South East Asia. CDFG Company, with headquarters in Beijing, has a chain of 200 large tax-free stores across China and around the world. Phnom Penh is not the only duty-free store it has opened in Cambodia, after the company opened its first store in Siem Reap in 2014. The 4,500sq.m Angkor Duty-free Store offers over 200 global brands. The underground mall and the retail outlets in Phnom Penh are targeted at overseas luxury buyers, especially Chinese tourists who have been visiting Naga in rapidly increasing numbers. “We are operating Naga City Walk and it will be a premium first class retail outlet to cater to Cambodia’s significant tourism growth. There are 7.5 million tourists expected by 2020 and Naga City Walk will open soon for them,” said Mr. McNally.

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