ASTANA – BI Group, the largest construction holding in Kazakhstan, is seeking to expand internationally – in the United States, in Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates, said Dauren Aitkenov, the company’s business analyst, in an interview with The Astana Times.
Over the past 25 years, BI Group has expanded its presence in Kazakh cities including Astana, Almaty, Shymkent, Atyrau, and Aktau, constructing over one million square meters annually. The holding is also spearheading projects in Karagandy.
Last year, BI Group set an ambitious target to penetrate the markets of 10 countries within the next decade. This strategic initiative for expansive internationalization was outlined in 2023, with specialists continuously analyzing global real estate markets.
Having cultivated the ambition to achieve global expansion for the past five years, BI Group’s top leadership began their journey in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.
“The first foreign market we entered was Uzbekistan. With the advent of the new government in 2016, the political landscape slowly began to change, leading to democratic transformations and the legislation’s liberalization,” said Aitkenov.
In 2019, BI Group created the NRG Tashkent joint venture with the Murad Buildings multinational development company, their local partner in Uzbekistan.
Since then, the Kazakh holding has built five residential complexes for more than 1,000 clients in the Uzbek capital.
“The construction not only brings profit but also allows us to contribute to the development of infrastructure, and transformation of new areas and cities in our neighboring country,” he noted.
When determining whether to initiate a project in a specific country, Aitkenov leads the charge in exploring new markets. Having served the company for eight years, he views analysts as the company’s frontline. They delve into the region for market research, forge partnership integrations, and function as both coordinators and consultants.
The United States
BI Group is interested in developing international projects in the United States, which is renowned for having an advanced real estate market.
“The dollar is the world’s reserve currency. With this logic, we began to study the U.S. market, which remains politically and economically stable,” said Aitkenov.
Two months ago, he visited Miami in Florida and the cities of Houston, Dallas, and Austin in Texas. In his opinion, the cities have an “amazing market with great prospects, considering the low tax burden, housing affordability, high-quality education, and a well-developed medical cluster.”
“We plan to invest in three projects,” said Aitkenov.
He mentioned that Texas and Florida are popular destinations for Kazakh people and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) citizens with green cards for purchasing real estate.
The United Arab Emirates
The first foreign housing market Aitkenov studied was Dubai.
“Dubai is a unique city with migrants from the Middle East and the CIS countries. It is attractive due to its low taxes, thoughtful new infrastructure, and the Persian Gulf,” he said.
This past February, Aitkenov delved into Dubai’s real estate market, renowned as one of the most dynamic globally. His efforts concentrated on building connections with industry professionals and local construction firms.
“I prepared a proposal for the BI Group shareholders to invest in a promising project,” said the expert.
The Kazakh holding is planning to enter the UAE market in the next two years.
Aitkenov is currently on a business trip in the Turkish city of Alanya.
“Kazakhs were probably among the top five property buyers in Alanya. But there’s a noticeable decline now. The market is oversaturated. Many construction and real estate companies have no clients, despite the abundance of available properties,” he said.
The expert noted that the company continues to consider Türkiye’s market, particularly Bodrum, Izmir, or Istanbul, where BI Group has a representative office.
Additionally, BI Group plans to open offices in Miami and Kyiv.
Discussing BI Group’s competitive edge in the global market, Aitkenov highlighted the company’s advanced IT technologies that support their extensive construction endeavors.
“If construction companies want to grow, they need automated management systems. We have invested a lot of time and money in developing them. Our partners seek to adopt our best practices in IT systems,” he said.
According to Aitkenov, BI Development CEO Amangeldy Omarov says the company “should mirror brands like McDonald’s, delivering consistent quality, be it in Kazakhstan or the U.S.”
The overarching ambition is to deliver top-notch global outcomes underpinned by a sophisticated management system and a comprehensive set of standards.