Steeped in Cambodian history is the French legacy, which dates as far back as 1863. 153 years later, the French influence is still strongly evident across the Kingdom; with many Cambodians fluent in speaking the language, a smattering of French-era colonial buildings standing proud, but perhaps most notably, the substantial number of businesses across a broad range of industries that have established themselves here.
Aside from the estimated 50 French companies – that include subsidiaries, branches and representative offices – there are an additional between four and five hundred independent small and medium-sized enterprises in the country, managed by the French.
Companies from France contribute to a slightly less than one per cent of the import market, the biggest share among its other European counterparts.
The growing French investment in the Kingdom represents several hundred million US dollars, with VINCI’s management of the international airports being the largest and most visible, along with a 5 per cent share in the pharmaceutical market and 15 per cent in gasoline and lubricants distribution through TOTAL’s network.
These are not the only two most lucrative industries, however. French cuisine is one of the most widely enjoyed in the world; nationally renowned French brands include the colourful food and beverage industry with restaurants like Topaz, Malis, and Khema, and small luxury hotel Arunreas which are all under the revered Thalias Hospitality Group.
In the same thriving tourism and hospitality spectrum are Meas Holdings’ eateries such as Blue Pumpkin, Terrazza, Sajibumi, and Yoshinoya, as well as independent restaurants and bakeries the likes of Comme a la Maison, Van’s, La Crêperie, and Eric Kaiser among many others. Larger hotel facilities such as ACCOR’s (Sofitel, Raffles) or VICTORIA’s showcase the vested interest of the French hospitality industry in the Kingdom and the recent opening of LVMH “T Galleria” in Siem Reap confirms the progressive upgrade of the tourism industry in the globally attractive site of Angkor Wat.
Extending their medical expertise see well-represented pharmaceutical giant SANOFI, and pharmacies DKSH, Eye Care, Naga Clinic, U-Care, Medicom, and Samata. These household names have propped up the quality of healthcare and health products in Cambodia together with the installation of French medical equipment in major hospitals in the country.
Design and architecture companies have helped in moulding Cambodia’s city landscape, providing sophistication and meticulousness in its aesthetic standards. These businesses of international standards include multi-disciplinary construction consultancy Archetype Group, the whimsically delightful branding consultancy Melon Rouge Agency, and in the digital marketing scope – Endorphine Concept Digital Solutions.
To list all of the established French companies in the country would be too extensive, but each and every one of these businesses has assisted greatly in Cambodia’s economic growth. From non-profit organisations and independent businesses, to the French government initiatives that cover the country’s pressing issues, the French continue to extend aid in higher education and research, economic development, infrastructures building and professional training, governance and social cohesion, and most crucially, health.
Here is wishing France, and all French nationals and Cambodians of French origin based in the Kingdom, a very happy Bastille Day!