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A representative of a Turkish cosmetics company (right) explains his products to a potential customer yesterday morning at the Sofitel Hotel in Phnom Penh.
A representative of a Turkish cosmetics company (right) explains his products to a potential customer yesterday morning at the Sofitel Hotel in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Turkish cosmetics firms eye market

Representatives of 21 Turkish cosmetics and self-care brands pitched their products to wholesalers, retailers and distributors at a cluster meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday, looking to get a foothold in one of Asia’s fastest-growing consumer markets.

All but one of the brands had come to Cambodia for the first time, motivated by increased consumption of international cosmetics and self-care brands in the Kingdom, according to Metin Cobanlioglu, general manager of Globrand Strategy Consulting, one of business-to-business event’s organisers.

While trade between Turkey and Cambodia is small, amounting to about $150 million last year, expectations for growth are high, and Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol has said he hopes to see it reach $500 million by 2020.

Cobanlioglu said that after conducting global market studies and analysing statistics, his firm has targeted cluster meetings in countries that Turkey exports to the least and show the most potential for growth.

This was the second visit organised for a Turkish cosmetics business cluster to the region after an event held last year in Vietnam.

A dozen Turkish electronics and electrical supply firms held a similar cluster meeting in Phnom Penh in June.

“Markets like Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam are getting more and more popular for Turkish companies,” said Cobanlioglu. “Asia is thought to be a very competitive market, but [Turkish companies] also have very competitive prices on good quality products, so I think that we will succeed in this market.”

He added that Turkish companies could consider investing in the Cambodian market or using it as a gateway to the region.

Ismail Gokmenli, export manager for Seba Chemical, a personal care and cleaning products brand, said he sees an opportunity for the Turkish company to take a share of the local market.

“Yesterday, we visited the markets and to my understanding there are not much new innovative products in the Cambodian market,” he said.

“That is why we’ve been told that it might be a good chance for Turkish companies, including mine, to explore the market. We can provide cost-effective and very innovative products that are not currently available.”

Seba currently exports to 36 different countries and sells 60,000 bottles a day of its best-selling product, a stain and dirt remover. Gokmenli, who was seeking a local distributor yesterday, said that if the company’s products do well in Cambodia it would consider establishing a factory here.

“We are not thinking to invest directly at first, we have to explore the market with our distributor,” he said. “Maybe after a year or two we will invest, after seeing the market and how well our products sell in Cambodia.”

Selen Yorgun, brand manager for hair-care products firm Selen Kozmetik, also saw an opportunity to carve out a share of the Cambodian market.

“We are really excited about this market because it is a very good and open market where there is no brand positioning and the prices are not in order, so we have a chance to position our products right where they belong,” she said. “In other countries it is very difficult because we are a very new brand, so this is an opportunity for us.”

Dynamic Distribution, a Cambodian company that distributes consumer products through five subsidiaries, was one of the 40 Cambodian firms that attended the cluster meeting.

Narun Sopanha, the company’s senior marketing executive, said that while he had not tested the Turkish products, he was impressed with their packaging and aesthetic appeal and saw potential for cooperation.

“The packaging looks more interesting and attractive and we will [work with them on the] price control and how we can penetrate the market here,” he said.

Sopanha added that with so many new brands coming into Cambodia’s market, products need to stand out.

“They have to be bigger and better,” he said. “So there are a lot of things to talk about [with Turkish companies] like marketing support, style distribution and plans on how to promote the brand.”

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