E-commerce continues its rapid expansion in the kingdom, with major global companies like Uber entering the market alongside a host of promising homegrown startups.
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However, a number of challenges are still keeping the country away from becoming a significant player in the region, according to a high-ranking government official.
Speaking during a conference on e-commerce logistics held in Phnom Penh yesterday, Kan Chanmeta, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said internet coverage expansion, the increasing availability of online payment options and credit cards, as well as an improved postal service have all played a key role in the development of the local e-commerce market.
“We are working closely with all the relevant ministries to build the policy framework needed to support tech entrepreneurship, provide Cambodians with opportunities in the sector and promote the development of local talent,” Mr Chanmeta said.
Long Leakhena, founder and COO of Joonaak Delivery, a local startup which offers delivery services, said the sector is growing rapidly, particularly when it comes to the availability of online payment methods.
“The e-payment segment is experiencing tremendous growth, with a lot of investors interested in the market. However, entrepreneurs in other segments of the e-commerce sector may need more help, particularly funding, to help their business ideas take off,” she said.
Frederic Campagnac, founder and CEO of Clevy Links, a firm that specialises in cross-border e-commerce delivery solutions in China, said the kingdom’s ideal geographic location gives it a tactical advantage, but adds that the market is still too small to lure in the likes of Alibaba or Amazon.
“The cost of logistics in Cambodia is another great disadvantage,” Mr Campagnac said, adding that the kingdom should now be focusing on the development of its human capital, a resource that is key to push the development of the sector forward.
According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, more than 8.6 million people in Cambodia, or 54 percent of the population, have access to the internet.