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E-commerce challenges still big: report

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Despite barriers to e-commerce, Cambodians are adopting it as consumers and merchants. Reuters

Though the potential for e-commerce is significant in the kingdom, big challenges still needed to be overcome with many Cambodians having little trust in online transactions or in financial institutions, said a report published by Cambodia-based marketing firm Mango Tango Asia yesterday.
 
The report, supported by the British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, presents findings based on interviews with 27 experts across e-commerce-related industries, including payment providers, banks, logistics companies, legal firms, and companies engaged in online selling.
 
“Our report has shown both positives and barriers, but our hope as a business group is to encourage the investment in e-commerce in Cambodia, so we would like to see more bigger players come in and offer new cash payment services and a new way of doing business,” said Nancy Jaffe, the head of strategy at Mango Tango Asia, during the report launch.
 
The report titled “e-Commerce Readiness and Opportunities in Cambodia” lists a series of challenges to the adoption of e-commerce in the country.
 
The most significant barrier was the way business transactions were carried out in the country.
 
“Cambodia is still a predominately cash-based culture, and many Cambodians have little trust in online transactions or in financial institutions,” stated the report.
 
“Most e-commerce transactions are not settled online, requiring cash-on-delivery as payment,” it added.
 
The report also chided online merchants for not having an adequate understanding of the use of IT for business transactions.
 
“Few online merchants have the IT capabilities required to offer online ordering and payment, and most do not understand the value of investment in IT,” it stated.
 
Mango Tango’s Ms. Jaffe said that while there remained barriers to e-commerce and gaps in infrastructure, Cambodians are adopting it both as consumers and merchants.
 
“There exists the potential for e-commerce to become a significant sector in the economy, and to improve lives and livelihoods,” she added.
 
Although online shopping is on the rise in Cambodia, the country has not yet passed its e-commerce law which is expected to be reviewed and passed by the National Assembly as early as the middle of this year.
 
The draft e-commerce law has 12 chapters that are divided into 90 articles. It covers details of credit and debit card usage to the use of online signatures to purchase goods over the internet. The draft law also has rules for trading companies to ensure the security of consumers when making online payments.
 
Hong Bun Chy, chief operations of Maio Mall – the largest online marketplace in Cambodia, told Khmer Times that on the average about 300 customers purchased goods online from his company.
 
He said at least 80 percent of his customers paid cash when the goods were delivered to their homes, while the rest used Wing’s point-to-point remittance service to make payments.
 
“Many Cambodians are still not familiar with online shopping. They want to see and physically feel the goods before buying them. Of course, this is not possible online,” added Mr. Bun Chy. “It will take some time to educate them on this.”

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