FOR businesswomen in Cambodia, it would be difficult to find someone with a more well-established network, or who is more respected and successful than Madam Lim Chivv Ho, a member of the global Lim clan and one of Cambodia’s true success stories.
She survived the Khmer Rouge regime digging in a rural rice field, knowing she’d be shot if she stopped working, lost half her family – but today she’s a leading force in Cambodia’s transformation, restoration and development.
She started out running boats back and forth to ships at sea when Cambodia was still under armed military control, bringing in supplies of whiskey and cigarettes and making friends of the soldiers, and over the years has developed a reputation for a unique combin-ation of strength and kindness.
Madam Lim Chivv Ho serves as chairman of LCH Investment group and managing director of Attwood Import Export, which has exclusive rights in Cambodia for Hennessy, Johnnie Walker and Heineken.
She’s chairman of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Co. Ltd, an increasingly successful place just outside Phnom Penh where foreign-owned factories can quickly and easily set up operations with steady electricity and water supplies and a large, fenced-in, protected compound where they can focus on the work and not worry about theft.
She’s developing the Stung Hav International Port and Special Economic Zone near Sihanoukville. She’s the Chairman of a property development company called LCH Developments Co. Ltd. which developed her headquarters building at Attwood Centre, located on Russian Boulevard toward the airport – a building that contains three bank branches, two restaurants, a KFC and a music lounge.
Attwood Investment Group owns LCH CE Mobiles Ltd. which is the licensed distributor of Samsung Mobile and her sister, Lim Chivv Y, is the exclusive distributor of Phillips Consumer Electronics in Cambodia.
Madam Lim took time with The Phnom Penh Post last week to express her feelings about Cambodia’s future.
“Cambodia is a very good investment because the market is very open. Right now is an excellent time to invest in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism or infrastructure,” she said.
Having survived the horrors of the past and having grown as Cambodia has developed, Madam Lim wants people to know Cambodia is now safe, comfortable and open for business.
“Cambodia is very safe. There are no guns here. The big investors can come to Cambodia which is now the number one in place in the world to invest,” she said.
The same morning of the same day of this interview, Madam Lim received a Thai investor from one of Thailand’s largest food companies, looking to set up a big food processing plant here.
He expressed surprise about how safe and stable Cambodia seemed to be.
“He told me he believes that the future of Cambodia is very good,” she said.
“I believe the same. We welcome him and his factory here,.”
Lim says the Cambodian government has also changed for the better.
Among Lim’s concerns are lower electricity costs in the future, more hospitals and schools.
As a successful businesswoman herself, she is committed to the development of a highly successful educational institute for training Cambodians and an excellent hospital as part of her legacy.
“I also want to see cheaper power for the country,”
Towards that end, Madam Lim has a concession to build a 90-megawatt, coal-fired power plant.
“Cambodia is very open and will be very good in the future. Don’t worry.
I want to tell to all the investors from overseas, come to invest in Cambodia.
“It is really safe and very good in Cambodia from now on.”
The secret of Madam Lim’s success, she says, is to have control of what you are doing.
“To be successful you must be in control of how to help your people and how to help your company.”
Another essential factor is trust.
“If my staff doesn’t believe me, how can they help me? I have to be a true person in order for people to be true to me,” she says.
“For training all my staff, it is the same as I treat my friends and family: thinking together, working together and eating together. This is my life.”
As for serious investors who are visiting Cambodia, Madam Lim makes them welcome to consider taking part in her many projects.