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‘Cambodia could become a main player in the call centre industry’: Tomas Pokorny, CEO for WorldBridgE Commerce (standing left); next to him: Rami Sharaf, CEO of WorldBridge International Group. Kali Kotoski

WorldBridgE Commerce: from outsourcing solutions to online shopping

In a move to capitalize on the growth of business process outsourcing (BPO) in Southeast Asia, WorldBridgE Commerce officially launched WorldBridge Outsourcing Solutions last Friday—a subsidiary that provides call centre services, data entry services and IT support aimed at helping international and local companies expand, as well as diversifying the Kingdom’s related industries.

After acquiring Dynamic Outsourcing Services (DOS) last February, which was one of Cambodia’s first independent outsourced providers established in 2012, WorldBridge Outsourcing Services already brings with it a collection of clients that includes Trivago, ANZ Royal, Cellcard and SMART.

In addition, the launch coincided with the announcement of a partnership with Samsung Cambodia to handle all of its call centre and data entry activities.

“[Samsung] is a perfect partner to do business with because there is a lot of future potential. We will use this model and experience to go after other big companies,” said Tomas Pokorny, CEO for WorldBridgE Commerce, a subsidiary of Worldbridge International Group (WIG).

While this is just the beginning for what Pokorny described as a process of collaborating with large, international companies looking for BPO solutions, Worldbridge Outsourcing expects to grow its 80-people team to 300 by the end of this year and 1,000 by 2016, based on the expected demand of the industry.

The growth does not stop there, explained Pokorny, saying that “there is reason to believe that Cambodia could become a main player in the call centre industry.”

By formulating an equation that models the BPO growth over the last ten years in the Philippines, where the sector employed over a million people producing $18 billion in revenues in 2014, Pokorny believes that Cambodia is perfectly capable of taking up a percentage of the market share, especially as the ASEAN countries open up.

To him, all the indicators are in place to build an outsourcing industry in Cambodia. He highlighted the strong expected mid-term growth in the Kingdom’s GDP, a young workforce with a relatively high degree of English proficiency (the largest market for BPO services comes from English speaking countries), and lower labour cost compared to the highly anglophone Philippines.

“By 2020, Cambodia has the potential of having a $3.2 billion industry based on outsourcing that [could] provide up to 100,000 jobs,” said Pokorny.

A unique aspect that can also make Cambodia the next destination for BPO solutions is the fact that Asian companies tap into the global trend for outsourcing customer service, and the Kingdom has the ability to draw on Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean speakers, especially as ASEAN countries open up at the end of this year, he explained.

“We would like to build [a call centre] industry in Cambodia and start the movement to reach that prediction for 2020,” said Pokorny.

By adopting unique concepts and innovative approaches, WorldBridgE Commerce aims to “offer what Cambodia needs and deserves by contributing in different directions,” said Rami Sharaf, CEO of WorldBridge International Group.

Expanding the Digital Sphere
Originally, the idea behind having a call centre was to support MAIO Mall, an online shopping platform launched in April aimed at bolstering the Kingdom’s nascent unregulated e-commerce industry by bringing high quality products and dependable service with the expectation of a high-end retail boom.

MAIO Mall mascot.
MAIO Mall mascot. Kali Kotoski

“But it turned out that by acquiring Dynamic Outsourcing Solutions, we could build upon their three years of experience and push [WorldBridge Outsourcing] into a self sustaining entity,” Pokorny said.

“MAIO Mall is a very simple platform, but we try to add something more unique which is the ecommerce business which has been done for years, especially abroad,” he said. But, in Cambodia, where e-commerce has been slow to take hold, MAIO Mall has had to incorporate specific strategies to enter into a market where thousands of online purchasing sites already exist.

One of those strategies, as the name MAIO Mall implies, is to provide a platform that brings virtually every online service to the palm of your hand or to the comfort of a laptop.

“By the end of 2015, when everything is up to our expectations, we will be the AEON Mall online,” he said. “That means you will be able to find everything from wholesale retail food, online booking services, plane tickets and high end electronics and fashionable clothing.”

While MAIO Mall aims to position itself as a local equivalent of US e-commerce giant Amazon.com or China’s Alibaba.com, its slowly building a loyal customer base since the launch a little over a month ago. While more people have been purchasing more products from the website, the company is improving their services, said Pokorny.

Nevertheless, “the audience capturing is small but still on plan” with a target of having 100,000 active users by the end of 2015, using Facebook likes as barometer for the sites receptiveness, MAIO Mall is gaining an average of 1,300 fans a day, he said.
Meanwhile, WorldBridgE Commerce expects that the platform will gain popularity in its convenience, trusted service and reliable delivery methods.

“We have WorldBridge International [Cambodia] and group which operates in 33 countries, and has 5 or 6 logistics companies, so we have the means to supply reliable delivery,” Pokorny said referring to the partnership with Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics to manage the supply chain of the online site’s products.

While MAIO Mall is currently operating primarily with cash on delivery payments, the company started a partnership last December with ALCEDA bank. Together, they plan to add online payments through the MAIO mall platform in June or July of this year, so customers can use ACLEDA services and products.

Additionally, MAIO Mall plans to set up a financal wing for the platform that allows for online funding, financing and mobile payment options, Pokorny explained.

With ACLEDA’s presence beyond the Kingdom’s borders, MAIO Mall plans to expand into a regional online shopping site.

“By the end of 2015 we want to be able to make deliveries nationwide. We want to be in every province of Cambodia. And in 2016, we want to tackle other countries, whether that is Thailand with the cooperation of other local sites and companies, or in Myanmar where ACLEDA has already become well established,” said Pokorny.

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