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SMEs must network to increase efficiency

High competition among Cambodia’s small and medium-sized enterprises was hurting their ability to compete with neighbouring countries, Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy officials said yesterday.

The ministry has pledged to find cohesion among smaller companies to improve their efficiency.

The Kingdom’s 30,000 SMEs worked largely as independent entities, a practice that had raised the cost of imported materials and had led to instability in the supply chain,  director-general of industry Meng Saktheara said.

These unnecessary expenses – which could be avoided if companies worked together – detracted from SME market-research potential and the competitiveness of Cambodian products abroad, he said.

“Vietnam’s [goods] beat our goods on the market. They have the power to beat us because they use networks and associations,” Meng Saktheara said, adding that the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce often came to Cambodia to negotiate on behalf of many companies.

The ministry has promised to improve networking among Cambodia’s SMEs in order to guarantee the stable flow of materials into the country at a competitive price.

Te Taing Por, president of the Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia, said he welcomed the ministries' move, saying businesses needed more cohesion to find markets abroad.

“We don’t need to be fragmented. [SMEs] have to come together throughout the country,” he said.

Roeung Ra, who owns a cleaning-soap business, said he had developed his enterprise independently but lacked market-strategy resources.

“I do my work alone or ask my friends for help. I don’t know of any association I can go to,” he said.

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