Cambodia Investment Review

Rising Giants: VTENH Growing Cambodia’s E-Commerce Market & Increasing the Role of A.I.

Rising Giants: VTENH Growing Cambodia’s E-Commerce Market & Increasing the Role of A.I.

Rising Giants

Podcast ‘Rising Giants,’ recently welcomed a special guest on Episode 89, recorded at their studio in the Choice Accelerator co-working space in BKK3, Phnom Penh. On this exciting episode, Max Thornton and Dom Kalousek sat down with Sirivudh Sarin, CEO of VTENH, an emerging force in the e-commerce space of Cambodia. Over the course of the interview, Sarin unpacked the journey of VTENH, shared insights into e-commerce in Cambodia, and revealed how VTENH is utilizing Artificial Intelligence.

Sarin, who detailed his background in finance and marketing, dived into the intricacies of the Cambodian e-commerce market and how his past experiences shaped the formation of VTENH. He reflected on his experience at the startup Book Me Bus, where his team digitalized the transport industry in Cambodia. “We were piloting new payment gateways to the local market, which at the time was still very nascent,” Sarin shared, illustrating the disruptive nature of the tech landscape in Cambodia.

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However, the real turn came with the advent of COVID-19, which brought about an unforeseen shift in the business model. A combination of lockdown measures and a hard hit to the transport industry pushed Sarin and his team to explore new revenue streams. It was then that e-commerce and logistics came under the spotlight, eventually paving the way for VTENH’s establishment.

Operating in the unique Cambodian market

As the conversation turned towards the functionality of VTENH, Sarin provided an in-depth look at how the platform operates in the unique Cambodian market. He pointed out that unlike traditional markets such as the US, UK, and Australia, where e-commerce is predominantly website-based, Cambodian consumers heavily rely on social media platforms like Facebook for online shopping.

Sarin addressed the challenges of using social media platforms for transactions, like the risk of misrepresented products and the complexity of product returns. However, instead of viewing these obstacles as impediments, Sarin saw an opportunity for VTENH to intervene and bridge the gap. “This is where we see an advantage to assist the buyer and seller to ensure both sides are operating in good faith,” he asserted.

Host Max Thornton brought up the potential emergence of an Amazon-like giant in Cambodia, asking Sarin his views on the topic. Sarin responded, highlighting the importance of an open e-commerce market for any country. He championed the role of AI in enhancing market dynamics by offering more targeted product placement. “With the introduction of AI, we can much better target buyers and sellers with the best products they are after,” he said.

Onboarding Sellers to The Platform

Sarin gave a snapshot of VTENH’s journey since its launch in 2021. Coinciding with a major COVID-19 lockdown, the company leveraged its logistics capabilities to deliver essential groceries, filling a critical gap in a crisis-stricken society. As VTENH grew, it expanded its product categories, including fashion, electronics, and cosmetics, which Sarin pointed out as the dominant categories for e-commerce in Cambodia over the past two years.

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Onboarding sellers is a smooth process, according to Sarin. “All people need to do is go to our website and register their interest then our team will follow up with you,” he explained. This easy process lines up perfectly with their tagline, “shop easy & sell easy,” ensuring that VTENH remains accessible and appealing to a wide range of sellers.

Sarin further elaborated on VTENH’s unique corporate structure and its low commission model. By offering more detailed reports and insights into platform engagement, VTENH provides sellers with valuable data to better understand buyers’ needs and wants, further strengthening its position as a preferred e-commerce platform.

Aiming For a Tenfold Increase in Sales

When discussing the company’s goals, Sarin set a bold target of achieving a tenfold increase in sales by the end of 2024. Even as the company has its sight set on ambitious growth, Sarin emphasized the importance of staying true to VTENH’s mission and values. He spoke passionately about maintaining a company culture that values every team member’s role and promotes clear direction.

Max also probed into the possibility of raising capital, to which Sarin responded that he is always open to discussions, especially with strategic investors who can bring value to the e-commerce market.

In a rapid-fire question round, Sarin revealed that if he were not spearheading VTENH, he would probably be working in another startup. When asked about the most informative book he had read, Sarin mentioned ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ which he credited for transforming his operations.

This in-depth conversation with Sirivudh Sarin provided a fascinating perspective on e-commerce in Cambodia, VTENH’s innovative approach, and its future ambitions. As VTENH continues to navigate the e-commerce landscape in Cambodia, it is clear that Sarin’s leadership, combined with his clear vision and dedication to his team, will keep propelling the company forward.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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