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Cambodia: An overlooked destination for business and investment (Video)

Harrison White

Aquarii BD and Cambodia Investment Review have hosted a live forum featuring five of Cambodia’s leading business figures who discussed the advantages of investing in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and reflected on the pro-investment and pro-business climate and incentives that Cambodia offers.

The forum was held live from the Flatiron by Meridan in Phnom Penh and was supported by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was in collaboration with Phillip Bank, CKHG Consultancy, Singbuild Construction and RHT Law Cambodia.

Cambodia’s stable political environment and fast-growing economy 

Singaporean diplomat-turned businessman Mr. Michael Tan who is Aquarii’s Founding Partner and CEO reflected on the changing attitude towards Cambodia from international investors, especially from Singapore who have previously favored regional emerging economies such as Myanmar and Vietnam.

“Cambodia has previously suffered from a large amount of negative media reporting and the country’s amazing economic growth story is largely unknown to international investors. However, we are now seeing a changing attitude towards investing in the country,” Tan said.

“In addition to the strong economic growth the country’s political stability, as well as very favorable 100% foreign business allowances and highly dollarized economy, are also beginning to be fully understood,” he added.

According to the World Bank, over the medium term, the Cambodian economy is expected to trend back to potential, growing at around 6%.

Cambodia’s first economic boom sustained an average annual growth rate of 7.7 percent between 1998 and 2019, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

To read more about Cambodia’s economic outlook click here.

Cambodia’s lifestyle and banking made easy

Well-known Singaporean banker Mr. Ong Teong Hoon, Director and Shareholder’s Representative of Phillip Bank Cambodia commented that Cambodia’s financial sector allowed for easy cross-border remittance as well as an international living experience.

“Since moving to Phnom Penh in the early 2000s I have enjoyed a high international standard of living and would assure those looking to invest and relocate they too will enjoy the international lifestyle here,” Ong said.

“While from a banking and finance view it is very easy to send cross-border payments to and from Cambodia being both an open and highly dollarized economy. In addition, it is very easy to obtain a business visa and open a local bank account – if needed this can also be done through our Phillip Bank office in Singapore,” he added.

To read more about Phillip Banks’s Singaporean way of doing business in Cambodia click here.

Finding the right local partners in Cambodia

Successful entrepreneur in Hong Kong and Cambodia Mr. Murry Ko who is the Founder and CEO of Meridian International Holding & CKHG Consultancy spoke about overcoming the common challenges that international investors may face in Cambodia.

“Some of the common challenges that international firms may face is around the need to up-skill workers as well as concerns with high staff turnover. However in my experience properly trained staff that are fairly rewarded will remain loyal to the company,” Murry said.

“Another common challenge is ensuring you connect with the right local partners and is a crucial factor to properly decide before you open your business. I would recommend approaching an international consultancy company based in Cambodia to assist with this process,” he added.

To assist in finding the right local partners’ consultancy firms such as Aquarii work with like-minded consultancy firms and other service providers to raise the standard of service and level of trust among foreign investors and businesses interested in Cambodia’s market potential and opportunities.

To read more about the Aquarii concept and their online investment calculator click here.

Relocating your office to Cambodia

Eco-friendly and urban development investor Mr. Kelvin Chua who is currently the CEO of Singbuild Construction and also the COO of Le Urban Eco Park reflected on the increasing number of international firms establishing their offices in Phnom Penh.

“Phnom Penh is fast becoming an attractive destination for international firms to open their representative offices as well as potentially relocate their regional headquarters here. With COVID restriction now totally removed for Cambodia the city is only a 90-minute flight from Singapore,” Kelvin said.

“The city has world-class internet speeds and some truly modern office buildings while rental prices start at around $15 for Grace C buildings and move towards $30 for premium Grade A developments. These prices are much more affordable than Singaporean office towers,” he added.

To read more about Cambodia’s tall building development click here          .

The right legal framework for you Cambodian investment

Leading legal and business registration expert Mr. Vannak Houn who is Managing Partner at RHT Law Cambodia commented on the country’s new law on investment as well as the opportunities for select investments under the Qualified Investor Program.

“Cambodia’s new law on investment allows for very generous taxation allowances for investments that fall under the list of high priority sectors providing up to 50% off taxation on profit for nine years with further long-term benefits,” Vannak said.

“To apply for this program or to open any formal company in Cambodia it is important to get the classification of your venture right first to avoid any legal concerns down the track,” he added.

To read more about Cambodia’s new law on investment click here.

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