Emerging Markets Property Group, which manages both Zameen.com in Pakistan and Bayut.com in the UAE, highlights Bangladesh as a market with potential for growth.
“Bangladeshi is still behind the Pakistani market,” EMPG Co founder and Zameen.com CEO Imran Ali Khan told the Property Portal Watch Conference in Bangkok. “But we understand the market well and we believe we understand how to operate in it.”
Khan and his brothers say they will use the lessons learned from their other portals in emerging markets to direct the business in Bangladesh.
“There are cultural nuances in every market to look at and it won’t be any different in Bangladesh. Strategy will often be different from city to city, so we will have to see how the business plan plays out,” commented Khan.
The launch of the site in the coming months marks a big step for Zameen’s owners, which first launched in 2005. It also marks the ongoing evolution of the online Real Estate space in the region, with Zameen first launching at a point when there were no other real estate portals in Pakistan.
“When we started taking to agencies they were all from different backgrounds with different mindsets so we realized there would be many roads to our goal,” he said, noting that they had to avoid giving agents unlimited listings, which, in an unregulated market, would only have resulted in too much spam.
“We wouldn’t give any agency in Pakistan more than 250 listings even if they wanted to pay thousands of dollars unless we were sure they actually had that inventory,” he explained.
At present, Zameen works with around 10,000 agency offices across 30 cities.
“In the last four and a half years, Zameen has grown from zero paying agencies to close to 10,000 and has a team about 500 people,” said Khan. “We do a lot of sales, data collection and quality listings. It’s been a crazy ride.”