Tuesday, September 6, 2011

US firms eye new markets in the Kingdom | Business | The Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's Newspaper of Record

VISA, Mastercard, Dell and Cisco Systems have been added to a growing list of US companies looking to enter the Cambodian market, according to Frances Zwenig, counsellor of the US-ASEAN Business Council.

The financial services and information technology companies joined GE, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson and several other big US companies during the council’s visit to the Kingdom last week, challenging what Zwenig said was the perception that US companies were interested solely in the Kingdom’s energy sector.

“It’s oil and gas, but people think that’s all. It’s also health care. It’s IT. It’s Mastercard and Visa,” she said.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chasing China’s rice import potential


THURSDAY, 25 AUGUST 2011 15:01

National Cereal, Oil and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) is the latest mainland Chinese company to sign a deal to export Cambodian rice.

The deal inked with Cambodia’s Angkor Rice provides for exports of 1,000 tonnes of rice.

COFCO is one of a number of Chinese companies that have signed similar deals with their Cambodian counterparts, but  direct rice exports to China are yet to begin in earnest.

Cambodia’s rice exports are awaiting approval from Chinese inspectors, experts say.

A protocol signed between the two countries in October last year states that rice samples must be free of agricultural pests that experts say are endemic in Cambodian rice fields.

“The Chinese are very strict on quality,” Phou Puy, president of the Federation of Rice Millers Associat-ions and the Baitong Rice Export Company, said.

“So far, we haven't received any updated information on the inspect-ions from the Ministry of Agricult-ure, Forestry and Fisheries. But I know their delegation will come to test our quality soon.”

Baitong Rice Export, which signed an MoU with a Chinese company late last year, plans to export 10,000 tonnes of rice a year to China, beginning next year.

Phou Puy said certification from the People’s Republic was not far off.

China’s rice market was vast but, as with many nations in East Asia, the import policy in China was highly protective, CEDAC president Yang Saing Koma said.

“The goal of China’s agriculture policy is to protect its own agriculture,” he said.

Rapid industrialisation had brought a move away from agriculture in China, potentially making room for rice trade with Cambodia, Yang Saing Koma said.

Government-controlled prices on Cambodian exports might be more of a concern than actually passing sanitat-ion inspections, he said.

Plans for a Cambodian rice-testing laboratory, required by Chinese inspectors to allow Cambodian imports, are also under way.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Chan Sarun and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Jian signed a memorandum of understanding last Saturday confirming the two nations’ co-operation on a testing laboratory.

Kith Chankrisna, assistant chief  executive of rice exporter Soma Group, said the project would take a year to complete.

Some experts, however,  say certification could be much further off than many assume.

The four pests targeted by Chinese inspectors were endemic in Cambodia and attempting to abide by Chin-ese regulations would not be cost-effective, Agriculture Development International  director Tim Purcell said.

“Practically speaking, it would be very difficult and very expensive. You would need to go into every rice field in the country and spray for [the pests],” he said.

Nevertheless, Cambodian companies continue to ink export deals with Chinese firms.

Soma Group had signed a memorandum of understanding  last Saturday with China’s Yunnan Provincial Overseas Investment Comp-any for 20,000 tonnes of rice a year, Kith Chankrisna said.

It hoped to begin exports next year, he said.

Last week, Cambodia’s TTY Group reportedly signed a contract with Sinograin for 20,000 tonnes of rice exports  a year.

Khem Chenda, an administrative director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, confirmed Chinese inspectors had been active in the Kingdom this year.

Several Cambodian and Chinese companies had signed contracts in July foll-owing a visit by inspectors, signifying confidence in fut-ure rice deals between the two countries, he said.

“I see some Chinese companies are signing contracts with  local firms. I think this is the result from the meeting [with inspectors],” Khem Chenda said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a policy targeting one million tonnes of milled rice by 2015.

In the first six months of 2011, rice exports more than quadrupled to 80,442 tonnes, worth $45.7 million, compared with the same period last year, according to Ministry of Commerce statistics.

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Metfone’s major fibre expansion

110824_7Metfone has claimed to control more than 80 percent of Cambodia’s fibre-optic network, allowing it to reach every commune in the Kingdom.

The firm said it contributed 16,000 kilometres of fibre-optic backbone to Cambodia’s total of about 20,000 kilometres, citing a February report from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The last 20 percent was split between Telecom Cambodia and Cambodia Fibre Optic Communication Network Company (CFOCN), the company said.

Metfone, which is owned by Viettel, a subsidiary of the Vietnamese military, claimed its cable deployment, all of which has been done since the company received an investment licence in 2006, was “13 times as high as the total national optical backbone developed by the whole country during previous 10 years”.

“Metfone is currently the owner of the biggest capacity and largest coverage fiber network in Cambodia,” Metfone said in a statement released earlier this month.

While Metfone Managing Director Nguyen Duy Tho did not return requests for comment, insiders were mixed as to the legitimacy of the company’s numbers.

Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun said Metfone’s coverage was likely to be about 80 percent of Cambodia’s total network of fibre.

CFOCN CEO Steven Cao estimated the number for Viettel was probably between 10,000 kilometres and 15,000 kilometres.

CFOCN holds about 5,000 kilometres of cable, he said. Telecom Cambodia Director General Lao Saroeun this week said the state-owned firm owned over 1,000 kilometre.

Cao likened Metfone’s reported fibre-cable numbers to those of its mobile subscribers. Where Metfone claims 8 million subscribers in Cambodia, Cao said the number was closer to 4.7 million.

Heath Shan, CEO of Cambodian wholesale fibre provider NTC, rejected that comparison. He said the Kingdom’s fibre network was quantifiable, while industry insiders have often called into question the veracity of domestic subscriber numbers.

Given those figures, he said the Kingdom’s total fibre network may in fact be larger than the ministry’s February report claims, possibly as high as 25,000 kilometres but likely closer to 22,000 kilometres.

Shan noted Metfone’s boast of reaching all of the Kingdom’s communes was one of choice, as other companies have focused instead on more commercially viable urban areas.

He said the return on investment for such an extended network was “extremely long”. Also, a number of companies were looking to wireless technology as an alternative to fibre in these areas.

Analysts called Metfone’s early push into the Kingdom’s over 1,600 communes a preparation for the eventual arrival of third-generation wireless, or 3G, services there.

Marc Einstein, industry manager for Frost & Sullivan’s information and communication technologies practice in the Asia-Pacific region, said Metfone is “getting its network ready for future growth”.

The company’s move will allow Metfone to run a stronger network, one that’s faster and cheaper for consumers than competitors and offers the capacity needed for 3G services.

“I think it really does show Viettel means business in the country, and that’s going to make it harder for these other companies,” he said.

By: The Phnom Penh Post

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nerd Night Phnom Penh Entertainer

Last night, Nerd Night Phnom Penh performed the Mao's a pub near Phnom Penh Night Market. It was a really great show for both Cambodian and expats to relax and listen to interesting topic from various presenters. The most important point for the Nerd Night is we can catch things that we never know or experience. It is like a short to find something new. Great Show!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cambodia GDP Grows at Second Place in ASEAN

According to IMF and WB studying about GDP of G8, G20, and ASIEN, Cambodia GDP growth is at second place after Singapore. Based on Mr Heng Vanda, President of Vanda Institute, the three main factors that help the growth of Cambodia GDP are tourism, export, and agriculture. The growth will keep continue because the factors above are in good health.

Mr Vanda added Singapore has the highest GDP growth which 8.3, while Cambodia's growth is in the middle of 6.7 to 6.9 and it grows to 7.

Source: Koh Santepheap Daily

The Number of Mobile Phone Operators in Cambodia

In Cambodia, there are 7 main mobile phone operators running. The most active in the media market are Cellcard, Hello, Beeline, and Smart.

Below is the list of the mobile phone operators:
1. Cellcard
2. Hello
3. Smart (Starcell was purchased by Smart)
4. Beeline
5. Metfone
6. Mfone
7. Excel

By: Pisith Phal

Mobile Phone Revenue Per User To Decline

Revenues per user in Cambodia’s mobile phone sector will drop sharply over the next five years, according to global research and consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan.

The company said the average revenue per user – ARPU, a key metric for the industry – would fall to US$3.68 in 2016 from $5.14 last year, as more and more lower-income Cambodians adopted the technology and  increased competit-ion drove down revenues.

“The indication is that things will get worse,” Marc Einstein, Frost & Sullivan’s industry manager for information and communications technologies in the Asia-Pacific, said.

“Profitability growth declines over time in this industry.”

Einstein said the trend could be one catalyst for consolidat-ion in the sector, as less-profitable firms sought to merge with stronger competitors.

He noted that Frost & Sullivan’s figures were based on average revenue per SIM card, and not per person.

As many Cambodians use more than one SIM card, Einstein estimated the true ARPU figure might be 1.25 to 1.5 times higher than his listed projections.

Mobitel chief executive David Spriggs said ARPUs tended to decline as a company’s customer base grew, although this was usually offset by the overall growth of the market.

Spriggs agreed with Einstein, however, that intense pricing competition in the sector, as well as the specific demographic of new customers coming on line, had been the catalysts for ARPU declines in many markets. “It’s normal in markets where the penetrat-ion is driven by reaching out to lower-income customers that the average will go down,” he said.

Companies could be forced to consolidate, cut their costs or stabilise their pricing strategies in order to remain profitable in an environment with declining ARPUs, Spriggs said.

Hello Axiata marketing director Rozy Laxana agreed that average revenues per user would decline.

“Promotion-driven campaigns to attract new acquisit-ions and increase market share in a highly competitive marketplace will result in ARPUs declining further, fuelling the multi-SIM phenomenon to an even greater extent,” Laxana said.

She predicted Cambodia’s mobile operators would face higher churn rates and an increased cost of acquiring customers, leading to lower ARPUs across the board.

As a result, operators might find it more difficult to invest in new products and services, which could affect Cambod-ian consumers as a whole, she said.

Laxana said she expected local operators would look to the mobile-data area for new revenue streams.

Richer content and an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base had served to fuel growth in that part of the business, she said.

“This trend is also beginning to gain traction in Cambodia. At Hello, we have seen a tremendous uptake in our mobile data and BlackBerry services during the past year,” Laxana  said.

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

iPhone Is a Cool Gadget for Cambodian

Everyone in the world dreams of having and iPhone, and so as Cambodian. iPhone is considered as one of the coolest gadgets. When the iPhone 4 first launch, the price was from 800USD to more than 1000USD. It's crazy! Why they like iPhone? Because of the coolest feature of games, touch-screen, video, camera... The most used app is facebook! Even Prime Mister Hun Sen, he also owns an iPhone. And he told everyone in public that he likes it! Now, Cambodians are excited with iPhone 5 rumor. Let's see how much it cost a Cambodian to get an iPhone 5? However Android is also a best choice for them. Let's in next post! Which one is best for Cambodian iPhone or Android?

By: Pisith Phal

Who Controls TV in Cambodian Family

Since Cambodia is a developing country; the number of TV set in a house is limited. Usually there is only one TV per house. So who decides what to watch? The head of a Cambodian family is a father who is the one that control TV channels and contents to watch. Mostly the dad like watching: Chinese Series (Fighting), News, Khmer Boxing, comedy, and sport programs. After the dad, here come the mom! This is her turn to control the TV after her beloved husband. Her favorite programs are: Khmer Drama, classic concerts, Korean Series, comedy and beauty program. So how about the kids??? They have to watch what their parents watch! And the kids say "That SUCKS!"

By: Pisith Phal

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Internet Shop Simply Dying in Cambodia

An Old Fashion Internet Shop in Phnom Penh
With availabilities of mobile internet, the number internet shops is dropping in Cambodia. The target of internet shop are students and foreigners. The internet shop in Cambodia is simply old fashion now. But now many students in Phnom Penh have own laptops, smartphones, and feature phones that can access to the internet. At the same time, telecom companies offer reasonable internet package which is killing the internet cafe. In contrast to the dropping number of simple internet shop, modern internet coffee shops that offer free wifi hotspot are boosting its number. It create a new lifestyle for young generation. Here are some famous coffee shop in Cambodia: T&C, Cafe Sentiment, Luck Cafe, The Blue Pumpkin, Gloria jean's Gourmet coffee...etc. Next post we will look in details on coffee and wifi shop.

By: Pisith Phal