Cambodia Investment Review

OCIC & Google APAC Fuels Cambodian Tech Scene With AI Catalyst Initiative Through AI-Powered Innovation

OCIC & Google APAC Fuels Cambodian Tech Scene With AI Catalyst Initiative Through AI-Powered Innovation

Vijian Paramasivam

Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) has partnered with Google Cloud, to launch the “Cambodia Tech Catalyst” initiative. The collaboration aimed to inject advanced technology into Cambodia’s nascent startup ecosystem and revolutionize the entrepreneurial landscape for the nation’s youth.

Hosted at Koh Pich City Hall in Phnom Penh, over 250 representatives from across the tech and digital sectors—including startups, incubators, venture capital firms, and investors—came together to celebrate this pivotal moment. The event underscored Cambodia’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and innovative tech community.

Thierry Tea, OCIC Group vice president and CEO of Negocia Capital.

Thierry Tea, OCIC Group vice president and CEO of Negocia Capital, articulated the collective optimism surrounding the adoption of future technologies by Cambodian entrepreneurs. Thierry emphasized the critical role of the private sector in sustaining innovation, announcing OCIC’s investment in developing key infrastructures like the Connexion Community Hub at Koh Pich. This, he noted, is crucial for enhancing the country’s research and innovation capabilities.

Cultivate A Thriving Digital Economy & Society in Cambodia

Thierry’s sentiments are echoed by the objectives of Cambodia’s “Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035.” This strategic document lays out a comprehensive plan to cultivate a thriving digital economy and society, with Google’s involvement marking a significant step towards realizing these goals.

Read More: Development of a 2,000 Hectare Tech Park in Kandal Province, Cambodia Marks a Significant Industrial Milestone

Andre Sheen, CEO of Bill24, reflected on the initiative’s capacity to bridge Cambodian startups with global tech giants like Google. Sheen highlighted the event as a pivotal networking opportunity, reinforcing Bill24’s mission to support the digital transition of various sectors, including e-commerce and education, thus furthering financial inclusion in the country.

Cambodia Tech Catalyst 2024 panel discussion.

The nascent but growing startup scene in Cambodia, rich in innovation across health, food delivery, financial services, and e-commerce, is largely driven by the ambition of young Cambodian entrepreneurs. Google’s entry is anticipated to significantly bolster the local cloud ecosystem, thereby facilitating startups’ growth.

Transformative Power Of Cloud Technology For Cambodian Startups

Pisoth Yi, a junior at CamTech University and founder of Polymer Invoice, stressed the transformative power of cloud technology for Cambodian startups. Yi praised Google Cloud’s arrival as a boon for local enterprises, offering them a scalable and investment-friendly platform.

Despite the optimism, the startup ecosystem faces significant challenges, from securing funding and finding qualified personnel to accessing mentorship. Andre Sheen underscored the necessity for a robust incubation center that supports startups at every stage, from conception through to fundraising.

Cambodia Tech Catalyst 2024 panel discussion.

Reflecting on the startup media sector, Sam Kosal, CEO and cofounder of Baksey Media, said the industry was currently particularly vulnerable, with many startups struggling to sustain operations. Kosal pointed out the distinct challenges posed by the evolving media consumption habits of Gen Z, who predominantly engage with social media, diminishing the viability of professional media in the digital age.

Supporting The Growth Of The Startup Ecosystem In Cambodia

Google Cloud’s contribution extends beyond the launch of the “Cambodia Tech Catalyst” initiative. It encompasses a suite of startup support programs ranging from bootcamps to funding opportunities. These efforts are part of Google’s broader strategy to drive AI-powered innovation and support the growth of startups through initiatives like the Google for Startups Cloud Program. This program offers startups access to technical training, business support, and substantial credit offerings, underscoring Google’s commitment to nurturing the global startup ecosystem.

CTO Connect Sessions hosted in Phnom Penh on March 13, 2024.

In the forefront of AI-powered innovation, Google Cloud spearheads numerous initiatives designed to prioritize startups. Among these is the Google for Startups Cloud Program, which provides startups with access to technical training, business support, and substantial credits—up to $200,000, or up to $350,000 for AI-focused startups, over a span of two years. This commitment to fostering the growth of innovative companies globally is a testament to Google Cloud’s leadership in the tech industry.

For more information on these groundbreaking opportunities and to delve deeper into the resources available to startups, visit or

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