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Singapore property agencies OrangeTee, Edmund Tie & Co form joint venture

ORANGETEE and Edmund Tie & Company on Monday announced the launch of a joint venture (JV) company, OrangeTee & Tie, between the associate agency division of OrangeTee and Edmund Tie & Company Property Network.

The former has about 2,938 property agents and the latter, about 1,122 agents as at August 2017.

At the signing ceremony and press briefing, both sides clarified that no additional investment has been made into the joint venture and also declined to reveal the respective proportion of stakes in the JV, preferring to keep it confidential.

The combined entity will be more than 4,000-strong, making it the third-largest associate agency in Singapore, after the merged entity of PropNex Realty and Dennis Wee Group (DWG), as well as ERA Realty Network.

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OrangeTee's managing director, Steven Tan said: "Real estate and the wider economy are going through structural changes. Digitisation and the sharing economy have disrupted many traditional modes of commerce, and the market has responded by consolidating and rationalising.

"To do well in real estate, we need to be able to create economies of scale to enhance productivity and cost effectiveness, harness adequate manpower with broad skill sets for market coverage and penetration, and leverage on technology to maximise efficiency and effectiveness."

Ong Choon Fah, Edmund Tie & Co's chief executive officer, called the merger "a slow courtship" and "carefully considered exercise". "We haven't courted each other for a very long time, but we have known each other for quite a while," she said.

"We know that there are a lot of disruptions that are happening, and we do have to take a very different course to change our direction, with the consolidation that's happening, with the proptech that's coming in."

Here, she was referring to the emergence of proptech companies and startups that try to take over the agent's role and do away with the need for human interaction in the transaction process. This challenges the traditional business model of agents providing mainly offline services.

Mr Tan said the JV wants to make better use of technology to equip agents with in-depth market research and there is an "urgency" to ensure its agents are ready for change.

With the combined portfolio of the two firms, OrangeTee & Tie has more than 50 existing residential projects, and at least six upcoming launches.