WITH projects ranging from construction to television, TriAsia Group CEO Tomoyuki Yokoi is a busy man. Since his firm established itself in Cambodia in 2012, it has quickly become a company to watch. He sat down with Post special reports editor Moeun Nhean recently to discuss TriAsia’s ongoing projects, including its investment in local television outlet TV3, and painted a picture of Cambodia as a truly vibrant and enticing market for international investment.
Could you tell us briefly about the background of TriAsia Group and what your main business sector is?
Firstly, although our board members are Japanese, TriAsia Group is not a Japanese company. TriAsia Group was originally founded in Cambodia with a cafe business. Our main business sector is not limited. We will create a business in any field, such as fitting cloth, food, real estate, entertainment and human resource.
Why did your company choose Cambodia? How much is the total capital of TriAsia Group’s investment in Cambodia? What is important to your company?
Firstly, there are not a lot of large companies in Cambodia due to the size of the population, but I thought there was an opportunity for a capital venture company such as ourselves to enter the market in Cambodia. Secondly, the huge potential of Cambodia is alluring in itself. Cambodia has a broad margin in which to mature; the economy in Cambodia, and indeed in Asia, is going from strength to strength. Thirdly, I want to give hope and optimism to companies in Japan through my success in Cambodia. I would be very happy if others began to try and emulate what our company has done and is doing in Cambodia.
Which of your investment projects do you believe hold the greatest potential for your company in Cambodia?
Now, it is construction. There are many clients in Cambodia who rely on Japanese construction technology. We have several large projects valued at more than $500 million.
When did TriAsia Group become a shareholder of TV3’s channel TV3 Asia? What percentage of shares belongs to your company?
We bought into the channel back in December 2013 with an 80 per cent share of the stock. Our capital investment is big, but not too big as we currently also own a TV station in Japan.
When did TV3 Asia launch? What is the greatest expense for your investment in the TV3 Asia project?
TV3 Asia has been broadcasting mainly imported programs, but also news, since July 7. The greatest expense is buying content. Although the popular programs are expensive, we are trying to import as many high-quality programs as possible
It’s known that TV3 Asia will bring Japanese content to Cambodia. Is it targeting Japanese people living in Cambodia and Japanese visitors, or is it targeting Cambodian people who wish to learn about Japan? If your target is the local population, will the content be subtitled in Khmer or voiced over in Khmer or English?
Our target audience is local Cambodians. All of our content is dubbed in Khmer.
Could you tell us in more detail about some of the content that TV3 Asia plans to broadcast in Cambodia? Will TV3 Asia be broadcasting local content, too?
We are going to bring Japanese animation into Cambodia. It is hugely popular and has a fantastic reputation in other Asian countries, so we are sure Cambodians will like it. Of course, we are trying to produce more local content. For example, our reporters go to many Japan-related organisations in the Kingdom, such as JICA, CJCC and the Japanese Embassy for interviews.
How many hours per day does TV3 Asia broadcast? How many people are employed for your TV3 Asia project?
We broadcast from 6am until 12am (a total of 18 hours per day). Sixty staff are currently working for the news production team at TV3 Asia. We foresee that number increasing as we start producing more local content and our popularity continues to grow amongst viewers.
What is your company’s plan for the future in Cambodia? Could you tell us briefly about the achievements of TriAsia Group in the Kingdom thus far?
Our goal is to be the bridge between Cambodia and Japan. We have created more than 300 employment opportunities in Phnom Penh to date, and have also contributed to the Cambodian economy. I think one of the next steps for me is making a personal contribution. For example, I have written my first book, which will be published in September. I will donate all the profits from the book to a scholarship program in Cambodia.
Thus far, what has been your experience in Cambodia? As you come from a developed nation, what do you think about the current situation in Cambodia? Could you possibly give us some tips for developing human resources here?
To be honest, I was surprised by the wealth in Phnom Penh. People are wealthier than I had envisioned. I hope the Cambodian economy will continue to prosper in the future and I would be really pleased if TriAsia Group can contribute to it. In my opinion, Cambodian people will need more information and education as did the Japanese in the past. That is why we started a TV media business. I would like to help with development in Cambodia, not just economic development, but also the development of the local people.