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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Electronics market in Cambodia booms

Electronics market in Cambodia booms

130124 09
An employee stands in front of a row of flat-screen TVs at an LG electronics store in Phnom Penh, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The burgeoning demand for high-end electronic devices in Cambodia, driven by a more affluent and growing middle class, has doubled or even tripled sales revenues in the country, industry leaders say.

“The market demand is shifting to the premium segment – from normal phones to smart phones, LCD to LED televisions, and one-door refrigerators to two or three doors,” Lee Gwi-han, director for Samsung in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, told the Post.

Samsung’s domestic television sales “more than doubled” in 2011 and 2012, Lee said.

Meanwhile, sales for LG Electronics’ washing machines in local retail outlets “doubled or tripled over the last few years”, said Hor Hap, LG’s Cambodia representative.

Samsung is expecting this year’s local sales revenues to hit $100 million, which would be a substantial increase from last year, Lee said.

With demand for mobile phones increasing, Samsung plans to expand services. Earlier this month, the company opened a service centre in Siem Reap, and plans to set up a sales office in the province next year.

The company also hopes to expand to other key provinces in the next three years.

When the first LG Electronics shop opened in Phnom Penh in December of last year, demand was “shocking… [and] much more than expected”, Hap said.

“There was not enough supply.”

Two 84-inch televisions selling for $20,000 each were snatched up on the first day, he added.

“Many Cambodians want outlets selling high-end electronic goods, but there were not many previously,” Hap said, adding that LG would offer more varieties in its new shop in Siem Reap.

Even for customers without high incomes, he said, high-quality products like flat-panel televisions are seen as long-term investments that “can be kept for six or seven years”.

While five years ago demand was high for second-hand or even counterfeit goods, priorities have changed, according to Lee.

“Consumers are increasingly concerned about non-price factors” such as quality, new technologies and design, he said.

Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodia Economic Association, attributed the blazing business for premium electronic goods to the “rising income of the middle class here.”

Besides mobile phones, which have long been fast-sellers on the Cambodian market, television appears to be the new hot product. Both Samsung and LG listed the television as one of their three fastest-selling products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Low Wei Xiang at lowweixiang@live.com

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