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Cambodia’s online marketplace Mayura looking at regional expansion

Gareth Jonson

Mayura an online marketplace that specializes in beauty products is not only taking Cambodia by storm but is looking to corner the marketplace in Southeast Asia says Co-founder and Managing Director Paul Kim. 

Owned by the Hong Leng Huor Group (HLH) the initial platform was known as HLH Marketplace when it was formed in April of 2020, but it was when the energetic Korean American Mr Paul Kim got involved that things started to ramp up.

The online market place has proved popular for the under 30 year old demographic in Cambodia.

The company later changed its name to Mayura, a Sanskrit word that means Peacock, which is also associated with trust according to Kim. 

And it is not just the branding that makes the company stand out, but the whole ethos of the company and even the office itself, with there being a very Silicon Valley vibe to things, with half of the office being a cafeteria, as well as board games being as common a site as a computer. 

To read more about e-commerce opportunities for SMEs in Cambodia click here.

Kim said: “We want this to be a fun place to work and have obviously been influenced by the big tech companies. Some people prefer to work from a desk, others in the cafe, we’re cool as long as the work gets done and the staff are happy”. 

And from a cursory look around that at least that certainly seemed to be the case,

The Mayura business model

When the company initially launched it was as a marketplace literally for everything, with Amazon being a prime example of a similar company, but as they noticed consumer demand things started to streamline with Kim stating: “Initially we were had too much stuff and it was confusing, but it was the beauty products, particularly from Korea that were doing the best, so we decided to concentrate on them”. 

Orders are then shipped into the fulfillment center, where they are distributed to the clients, who number around 300 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as some larger corporate clients.

“I guess if you were to compare us to anyone it would be TaoBao in China rather than Amazon. For example, we do not have our own branded stock, although this is something we might consider in the future. We won’t be using robots though, with the price of labor here still being very affordable”

And as for their success so far, Kim says it boils down to trust with him stating: “People are scared of fake products, when they order from us they know that they are getting the real thing. Our return rates are just 3 percent and they tend to be related to issues with the delivery, rather than the product”. 

And from a marketing and branding perspective, they are certainly getting things right with Kim adding: “You’d be surprised, but our general customer ratio is 3-2 female to male, and people predominantly in their 20s. We also list over 26,000 products and have over 125,000 monthly active users across both the mobile and web-based platforms”. 

Mayura staff select products for their online store.

“As well as having 75 in-house staff, we also work with over 300 SMEs, which not only helps empower them, their staff, and their families, but also helps bring them into the formal economy. This is something that will become much more important as Cambodia continues to develop”.

And it was with regards to helping people enter the formal economy where Kim felt the government was on the right track when it came to the new regulations regarding e-commerce.

“Actually we are pro these regulations and it is companies like ours that stand to benefit the most from them, At the moment Facebook is our biggest competitor and its completely unregulated, which can lead to fake products being supplied. In this respect we support the law and want it to be implemented,” he said.

To read more about Cambodia’s online market place regulations click here.

The future expansion of Mayura

And when it comes to looking to the future the company has several grand plans, although they are also not in any particular rush with Kim noting “We wanted to start small and work with trusted vendors and this has been key to our success. Building trust”. 

And when it comes to growth and expansion the company is looking both domestically and regionally with their future plans. stating: “While we will technically deliver anywhere, we are only in the five richest provinces currently. In the short term at least we want to be present in all 24 provinces of Cambodia”.

The growing Mayura team based in Phnom Penh.

And as for scalability Kim has a lot of ideas, but the main focus appears to be on regional growth: “Cambodia has around 16 million people, so the market is finite. We will certainly expand our product range and may even set up a subsidiary to sell our own branded goods.”

“Mainly though I would like us to keep the high standards that we currently have and expand regionally across ASEAN. The Asian market for quality beauty products is huge, and brands from countries like Korea and Japan are highly trusted. This sector really is one where Asians trust and want to buy Asian products,” he added.

But for now, at least Mayura has carved a real niche in the market and one they are truly dominating, locally at least. 

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