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The role of the Cambodia-Japan Business Investment Association to boost the joint-venture between Cambodia-Japan SMEs

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Mey Kalyan, chairman of Cambodia-Japan Association for business and investment (CJBI). KT/Supplied

The Cambodia- Japan Association for Business and Investment (CJBI) has sharpened its vision to focus on promoting Cambodia-Japan business partnership, with a partic­ular focus on SMEs, in order to enhance economic relations between Cambodia and Japan.

CJBI is the only as­sociation in Cambodia which consists of Japa­nese and Cambodian members and it aims to encourage business-matching between Cambodian and Japa­nese SMEs, as well as boost the number of joint ventures between Cambodian small and medium-sized enter­prises (SMEs) and their Japanese counterparts.

Onishi Yoshifumi, JICA chief adviser to the Cambodia-Japan Coop­eration Centre (CJCC), said that big Japanese companies can do busi­ness overseas on their own, but Japanese SMEs cannot come here without assistance. Now, the Japanese gov­ernment is also assist­ing and accelerating the Japanese SMEs to come from outside, not just in Cambodia.

“Japanese compa­nies have the option to go to either Vietnam, Thailand, India or China, but Cambodia is one of the options. If both Jap­anese and Cambodians work together, the CJBI will find the support. Both can invest in each other’s country and trade with one another. A joint venture is one of the options and the es­tablishment of a trading relationship is another,” Onishi said.

“Cambodia has po­tential and we would like Cambodian com­panies to be chosen in the same way that we hope Cambodian com­panies choose Japanese companies. This is also important in a bilat­eral relationship,” he added. Onishi said that Japanese SMEs would naturally like to be in a win-win relationship. He added they (Japa­nese SMEs) want to join with the locals. The Japanese characteristic is that once they come, they want to grow to­gether, think together, survive together and enjoy together. CJBI Chairman Mey Kalyan, said Japan is important to our country. As such, we must maintain the cooperation and make development progress. He added that the prin­ciple of development for Japan is focusing on human resources, infra­structure and economic development.

Japan likes work­ing as group with high and clear responsibil­ity, community idea, and culture of shame in the society. Japan want to make themselves number one or perfect expanding to foreign country. He adds that with the Cambodia- Japan Cooperation Centre (CJCC), the lan­guage, culture, tradition and the working habit of Japan can be pro­moted. Therefore, lo­cal business people are aware of how Japanese businesses operate and work. “Japan is ad­vanced because of the small enterprises. They want the perfection and adherent culture of shame. In terms of busi­ness perspective, Japan always thinks about fairness. Japanese in­vestors want to prosper and develop together,” Mr Kalyan says.

Mr Kalyan adds that CJBI, is small. However, they have the Cambo­dia-Japan Cooperation Centre (CJCC), the base to promote the lan­guage, culture, tradition and the working hab­its of Japan. Therefore, CJBI and CJCC can link together.

“Japanese SMEs have long years of ex­periences, and most of the Japanese SMEs owner are elderly. They do not know much lan­guage but they know how to work, so we should join venture with them. Some SMEs start with their own business, while some open the market and company and supply in local pro­duction, but we want to marry them with the local SMEs. In some way, Japanese com­panies can bring know how to technology that we require to push our SMEs.”

Mey said, “By 2020, we want to have at least two or three Cambo­dian SMEs and Japanese SMEs to create ventures per year. We will focus mainly on the agro-pro­cessing sector and tech­nology investment.” Mey added that the CJBI is an essential platform to bringing Cambodian and Japanese investors together and also to provide training to local SMEs which are at par with Japanese stand­ards regarding man­agement, accounting, taxes, culture and to ex­change experiences and provide an open, pro-active forum, to provide important information to local and Japanese investors. Mey added that so far, CJBI has 44 members, including 36 Cambodian and eight Japanese members. The move also aligns Cam­bodian and Japanese government policies, said Mr Kalyan.

He said that at pre­sent, the Japanese gov­ernment is also direct­ing its SMEs to foreign countries while Cambo­dia is also pushing its lo­cal SMEs to partner with foreign investors.

Partnering with Japanese firms enables local entrepreneurs to process raw materi­als into more valuable products, said Miyao Masahiro, chief repre­sentative of the Phnom Penh Office of the Japan External Trade Organi­sation (Jetro). Selling milled rice directly to a buyer abroad is not as lucrative as exporting rice crackers, which sell for much more. “It is good to work with Jap­anese manufacturers who know about qual­ity and safety stand­ards and can help locals increase the value of Cambodian agriculture products.

This is a good exam­ple of what we want to do,” Mr Miyao said.Tak­ing advantage of the skills and know-how of Japanese manufactur­ers will be beneficial for everyone, particu­larly Cambodian SMEs and farmers, he added, noting that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the back­bone of most emerging economies. Cambodia is no exception. Out of 510,000 enterprises, 40 percent are involved in commercial (retail) trade, 30 percent are industry- and manufac­turing-based (mostly food and beverages), 22 percent are in agricul­ture and eight percent are involved in services and other areas.

As for micro SMEs, 83 to 86 percent of 150,000 businesses are involved in handicraft and micro trades, nine percent or 20,000 en­terprises are small and medium manufacturing and less than one per­cent (2,000 registered factories) are medium-sized manufacturers, Mr Kalyan said.

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