Biweekly News Collection No.7

NO.7 (APRIL 17, 2019)


AGRI BUDDY AIDS THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION CHAIN. Agri buddy, a Japanese-owned start-up, is the first agricultural facilitator working with the entire production chain in the Kingdom’s agricultural sector. Launched in 2015 with $730,000 in venture capital funding, the Siem-Reap-based “agritech” company currently provides services to 20 districts comprising some 300 villages and reaches more than 50,000 farmers as Agri buddy members. (The Phnom Penh Post).

ACLEDA’S BANK ANNUAL PROFIT DIP 10 PERCENT. The decrease was against 2017 based on the audited financial report. Acleda’s profit in 2018 is $84,009,268 and it was $92,527,998. The bank’s CEO highlighted the stagnant growth in the first six months as the reason. (The Phnom Penh Post).

NBC SET TO LEAD BLOCKCHAIN USE. NBC will be one of the first central banks to use blockchain technology in its national payment systems for use by consumers and commercial banks. The expected implementation is in the second half of 2019 as the experiment in supporting financial inclusion and greater banking efficiency. (The Phnom Penh Post).

ASEAN PAYMENT CONNECTIVITY A MAJOR STEP TOWARD CUTTING TRANSACTIONS COSTS. Migrant workers, tourists and small and big businesses will be able to cut the cost of their financial transactions in Asean after regulators, bankers and non-bank operators decided to integrate and upgrade their financial services across the region. Eight Asean countries agreed on Asean Payment Connectivity during the meeting of Asean Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Chiang Rai. (The Phnom Penh Post).

FOREIGN INVESTORS EYE IDLE VN BANKS. Foreign financial institutions eye up poorly-performing Vietnamese banks after being given the green light to acquire stakes in local institutions in a move to speed up the restructuring of the country’s banking industry. Mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry had remained quiet for the past two years after witnessing a record from 2011 and 2016. The Vietnamese financial market holds a lot of potentials, but license applications to establish a bank are very difficult, so purchasing shares in local banks or acquiring a 100 percent share in ailing institutions are the best options, according to a local expert. J Trust Corp expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in the Construction Bank (CB). (The Phnom Penh Post).

VN STEPS UP THE FIGHT AGAINST FAKE GOODS ONLINE. With the rate of growth of more than 30% in 2018 and the expected growth continue in 2019 and 2020 on the e-commerce market in the size to reach 13 billion, the Vietnamese relevant authority is seeking the solutions to stop fake goods appearing on e-commerce websites. (The Phnom Penh Post).


GUANGBO GROUP STOCK TO OPEN STATIONARY AND SPORTS PRODUCTS FACTORY. China-based Guangbo Stock Co Ltd plans to open a stationery and sports products factory in the Kingdom, following the meeting of the president of the company and minister of commerce of Cambodia. The group currently produces office stationery, paper, and plastic products in China, selling them domestically and overseas. On March 21, the group inaugurated a new production plant in Vietnam, its first overseas factory. (The Phnom Penh Post).

MOBILE CLOTHING MARKETPLACE ZILINGO PLANS TO EXPAND INTO THE KINGDOM. Mobile marketplace for clothing and lifestyle products Zilingo has unveiled plans to expand its business to Cambodia, among other Asian markets, after raising $226 million in a series D funding round1. The company has plans to invest capital for long-term value building across the supply chain, building a new and deeper relationship with manufacturing partners in Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and China, and expanding into the new markets like the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, and the US this year. Zilingo has headquarters in Singapore. (The Phnom Penh Post).

HYDRO DAM, SOLAR POWER STATIONS APPROVED. A project on the hydroelectric dam and supplemental solar power stations with a total capacity of 220MW were approved by the government.

The hydro dam investment was granted to SPHP (Cambodia) Co Ltd investment project to build the hydro dam station along Pursat river in Veal Veng district’s Pramuoy commune. The project is Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) with $231.10 million invested in 39-year concession term. 80MW will be launched in 2023.

On April 4, Schnei Tec Co Ltd received government approval for an investment project to build two more solar-power stations. One station will be in Pursat province with a 60MW capacity and another will be in Kampong Chhnang province with the same capacity. The project will be Build-Owned-Operate (BOO) with more than $116 million invested in a 20-year concession term. Currently, the company pumps 20MW of solar energy into the national network out of a total 60MW produced at its Kampong Speu station. The government also approved additional capacity of 20MW for the production in Kampong Speu. (The Phnom Penh Post).

NAGACORP LTD UNVEILS NAGA3. The company which is the only licensed casino in Phnom Penh announced $4 billion Naga3 Project on the site of the former “white building” in Tonle Bassac commune, a 29-page document filed with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited said. The company said the government had agreed in principle the construction of the Naga3 integrated entertainment complex in four 42-story buildings on 7,757sqm. (The Phnom Penh Post).

EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO START ITS SECOND ROUND. Private equity firm Cambodia Investor Club (CIC) will soon start the second round of its Beyond Investment Opportunity (Bio) programme, aiming to accelerate investment activity in Cambodia by educating investors and entrepreneurs. (The Phnom Penh Post).


ADB unveiled the growth forecast of the Cambodian economy of 7.0% for 2019 and 6.8% for 2020 at the launch of its Asian Economic Outlook on April 3, 2019. (ADB Press Release).

Biweekly News Collection No.6

NO.6 (MARCH 25, 2019)


CAMBODIA DIGITAL ECONOMY NEEDS 10 YEARS. This month Cambodia in cooperation with the World Bank held a workshop on Policy and Direction of Cambodia’s Digital Economy, remarking the gradual progress of the new business activities in digital payment, online entertainment and e-commerce and the increasing number of the users who adapt themselves to such technologies. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance said that Cambodia needed to spend the first five years to set the fundamental elements in place and achieve digital readiness and spend another five or ten years growing the digital economy toward a technology-driven economy. A demographic dividend for such emerging driver of growth include an increasing number of educated youth who are fast absorbing digital technology, a rapid increase in the use of cell phones and smart devices, fast technological spillovers from foreign direct investment inflow, and a fast digitalization of all key economic sectors. (Phnom Penh Post)

KINGDOM SEEKS FTA WITH EAEU. Cambodia is negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), hoping the new market will maintain the Kingdom’s economic growth. The EAEU – comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, with 183 million people and a combined GDP of $2.2 trillion. So far EAEU has provided tariff-free access for 46 Cambodian made products for three years due to the Kingdom’s Least Developed Countries (LDC) classification. The existing preference covers Cambodia goods such as rice, silk, textiles, meat, vegetables and coffee. Cambodian agricultural products are the huge necessity for the new market. In Asean bloc only Vietnam has reached an FTA with EAEU in 2016 while Singapore is in the middle of negotiation. At the FTA, Vietnam-EAEU bilateral trade grew to $3.9billion in 2017, a growth of 31% from 2016. Russia is the main trading partner in the bloc accounting for almost 90% of trade with Vietnam. (Phnom Penh Post).

KINGDOM PLANNED TO HIRE TURKISH POWER SHIP. At the current sparking electricity shortage, Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire 200MW capacity power ship to cover the supply gap. Early this month, the EDC also signed agreement with Laos for a 200MW increase in electricity supply starting from 2021. According to the EDC top management, the electricity demands have increased due to a boom in the construction sector. (Phnom Penh Post).


JT CAPITAL, a new local derivative brokerage firm, officially launched operations in Cambodia on March 24. In line with this launch, the senior official of SECC informed that trading activity in the derivative sector had a significant surge in 2018. Based on existing regulations of SECC (set late in 2015), a brokerage firm must meet the minimum capital requirement of $250,000 and the central counterparty must cover $5million. At this regulation background, there are more than 10 licensed derivative brokerage firms in Cambodia and four licensed counterparties. SECC in 2017 capped the number of central counterparty licenses at four, claiming that was a sufficient number to satisfy the current demand. (Phnom Penh Post).

GOVERNMENT APPROVES THE JAPANESE SMARTCITY INITIATIVE IN PRINCIPLE. The establishment of the Asean-Japan Smart City Network and of a Private-Public Forum on Asean-Japan urbanization development in Cambodia may soon be a reality after the government approved the initiatives in principle. Under these initiatives, the three largest urban areas of Cambodia namely Phnom Penh, Siem Reap town and Battambang town are set to be incorporated into the Asean Smart City Network. The network aims to increase regional connectivity and is presents in 26 cities across the Asean region. Smart City refers to a city development with smart and sustainable technology to tackle the effects of rapid urbanization such as traffic jams, water and air quality, peace and security. (Phnom Penh Post).

SPECIAL REPORTTrend of the digital start-ups in Cambodia

Note: The results above are based on the on-site data collection and should represent the estimates only. We aim at providing the general picture on the sector coverage of the tech statups in Cambodia. Also, we found among these startups, 10% locates in co-office space.
Source: 3E-Fii Flash Survey (on sample basis) on the First and Biggest National Tech Expo in Cambodia held from March 15 to 17, 2019.

Biweekly News Collection No.5

NO.5 (MARCH 01, 2019)


CAMBODIAN CONSUMER SPENDING in $90 million surge. Consumer spending on mobile phones, consumer electronics and home appliances surged in 2018 with total spending for at least $413 million revealed by G-Gear CEO Sok Piseth, who is also LG Electronic partner in Cambodia. The data from market research firm GfK shows $282 million was spent on mobile phones, and $121 on consumer electronics such as television sets, and home appliances like washing machines air conditioners and refrigerators. The figure of 2018 jumped 28% from 2017 when Cambodians spent around $323 million – $214 million on mobile phones and $109 million in consumer electronics. (Phnom Penh Post).

CAMBODIA-CHINA TAX FORUM. The General Department of Taxation (GDT) held the first ever Cambodia-China Tax Forum in Phnom Penh to push awareness of the Cambodian taxation system among the growing Chinese firms in Cambodia. More than 500 accounting and financial employees joined the forum, with most of them from Chinese enterprises operating in Cambodia. Cambodia and China signed a deal in 2016 to avoid double taxation and prevent income tax evasion. (Phnom Penh Post).

CAMBODIA AND JAPAN signed an MoU on organizing the Public Private Forum of Urban Planning Development on February 26, 2019. (CPP Web).

THE STATE-OWNED RURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK (RDB) distributed $50 million in loans to private rice millers in 2018 to sustain the paddy market for farmers. Despite many provinces in Cambodia facing draught, the demand for loans remains high, RDB CEO Kao Thach said. (Phnom Penh Post).

AEON FINANCIAL SERVICES (AFS) CO., LTD, the owner of Japan’s Aeon retail chain wants to expand its financial services in Vietnam through the merger and acquisition, according to AFS Chairman Masaki Suzuki. Aeon considers Vietnam as key investment destination in the region, with the group planning to pour some $5billion into shopping malls nationwide, raising the total to 30 malls and creating jobs for 50,000 local laborers.

HKEX EYES BIGGER ROLE IN ASIA-TIME INVESTMENT. The operator of Hong Kong stock exchange, the third-largest bourse in Asia, is set to provide more diversified products and services in the next three years to facilitate its gateway role for investment in and out of Chinese mainland, as it eyes to be global market leader in the Asian time zone, according to its Strategic Plan 2019-2021. Its three focuses including China anchored, Globally Connect, and Technology Empowered, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing aims to “increase the international relevance to China and Asia and Asia relevance to the global markets.” (China Daily)

CHINESE PMI DROPS TO THREE-YEAR LOW IN FEBRUARY. Chinese factory activity measured by the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, slowed to a three-year low in February, indicating that Chinese economic growth remains weak. The official PMI fell to 49.2 in February from 49.5 in January, making the third straight month of activity contraction. (Chinese Bureau of National Statistics) CONTINUED IN BELOW TABLE…


MEAL TEMPLE, CAMBODIA’S FIRST ONLINE FOOD DELIVERY SITE, HAS acquired the largest platform in Laos,, part of Kiwi Group. Meal Temple Group used funds raised from international private investors up to the end of last year to manage the acquisition. Within more than 300 daily deliveries from more than 200 restaurants in Lao Capital Vientiane, Meal Temple Group will continue MyDelivery’s operations while adding more on-demand delivery and logistics services, such as grocery deliveries. Meal Temple Group also agreed on an exclusive partnership with Kiwi Group and its fintech start-up Kiwi Pay to use their services locally to handle online secured payments. Kiwi Pay recently partnered with Alipay, Wechat pay, Google and Apple Pay to manage their expansion in Laos and unlock local e-commerce potential.


COMMITTEE TO DECIDE SITE OF NEW PHNOM PENH AIRPORT. The Government established a Committee chaired by Minister of Land Management and Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara, with 21 members to oversee the new airport project following the government’s approval of Cambodia Airport Investment Co., Ltd. Proposed since December 2017. Cambodian Airport Investment is a joint venture between local Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) and the Cambodia state-owned SSCA. OCIC will own 90% of the share with the rest going to the government. The Committee functions include inspection and determination of the project site, land price evaluation, land issue settlement facilitation and coordination with relevant ministries to implement the project. The project is worth $1.5 billion and requires 2,600ha of land for the construction.


(Note: Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is an index compiled and summarized through the results of the monthly survey of enterprises purchasing managers. It is one of the leading indices which was commonly adopted by international society to monitor the macroeconomic trends, and played an important role in forecasting and monitoring. Users can intuitively understand the changes in the breakdown of the different indices of the PMI. Usually, PMI covers other main category indexes such as Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (above Table), Non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, and Comprehensive PMI Output Index. The indexes in combination cover every link of the enterprises, including purchasing, production, logistics, and so on.)

Source: Chinese Bureau of Statistics.