Five well-known Filipino franchisors have participated in a virtual business to business (B2B) workshop yesterday after identifying Cambodia as a potential next market destination.
The event was a collaboration project between DTI Philippine Trade and Investment Center Thailand, the Embassy of the Philippines, Phnom Penh Cambodia, The Philippine Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (PhilCham) and The Philippine Franchise Association.
H.E. Maria Amelita Aquino, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Cambodia was the keynote speaker of the said event joined by PhilCham President – Ms. Benilda Custodio Fernando and PFA President – Ms Sherill Quintana, CFE.
The five franchisee brands that participated in the event was the most popular Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee, retail and apparel Bench, food and snacks store Kerrimo, shoe and bag repairs Mr. Quickie, and youth fashion brand Penshoppe.
H.E. Maria Amelita Aquino, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Cambodia told Cambodia Investment Review that there is a big potential for Filipino franchisors to expand their market reach in Cambodia due to its young population and growing middle class who are looking for new and quality products, services and brands which Filipino franchisors can offer.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has made business expansion more challenging, Cambodia is a good place for Filipino franchisors to go overseas as it is among the countries projected to return to an economic growth trajectory this year. Business entails risks but if you are well-positioned and find your niche early on, then as the economy recovers, your business could also grow with it,” H.E. Aquino said.
She also added that the Embassy and PhilCham can assist Filipino brands who are interested in expanding in Cambodia, such as providing relevant information on the requirements for investing in Cambodia and connecting the brand with the appropriate private companies and government offices.
In response to a common concern among international franchisors of Cambodia’s lack of franchisee laws Sundee Vinas, Executive Director of PhilCham Cambodia told Cambodia Investment Review, “As far as we know, this has not detracted Filipino franchisors from exploring the Cambodian market. While Cambodia has not enacted specific laws on franchises, we understand that the laws of contract and business laws apply, particularly those pertaining to trademarks.”
Cambodia has already attracted popular Filipino brands including Potato Corner and Yellow Cab. Potato Corner came to Cambodia in 2017 and continues to be popular and sought after in the country. To date, it has opened seven branches in Cambodia. The other Filipino franchise brand is Yellow Cab, which opened in late 2019. Despite the pandemic, the brand continues to receive support from Cambodian and Filipino consumers, Vinas says.
According to the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry’s, bilateral trade between Cambodia and the Philippines decreased to $58.5 million in 2020 compared to 2019 figures reaching $103 million. The two countries have a very low trade deficit with Philippine exports to Cambodia in 2020 valued at $27.99 million and imports from Cambodia amounted to $27.14 million.
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, garments, electric motors and DC generators are among the top products exported by Cambodia to the Philippines. The top products imported by Cambodia in the Philippines include food preparations for infant use, bicycle parts and tobacco.