Japanese business investors have increasingly turned to Cambodia in the past few years, but the influx has been particularly noticeable in 2014, with firms popping up all over Phnom Penh. One of the companies that has been established by young Japanese entrepreneurs, Tri Asia Group, a capital business venture, aims to be one of the more powerful in the pack.
“When I was a university student, I started my first marketing company when I was 22-years-old,” said Tomoyuki Yokoi, CEO of Tri Asia Group, who took time out of his schedule to talk to the Post.
He said that his company has been extremely profitable and successful since its inception in Cambodia. In 2012, he travelled to Phnom Penh in search of a new business opportunity. During his trip, he asked many locals what the country lacked, and he saw an opportunity for Tri Asia Group.
Yokoi continued that “actually for Japanese people the image of Cambodia is not good – poverty, wars, conflict; most Japanese think and believe that we have to help Cambodia. But in fact no; everyone has a Lexus”, he joked. “It’s something nobody knew in Japan.”
“I thought that it was time to come here for business,” Yokoi added. He established Tri Asia Group in 2012 in Phnom Penh while he was only 33-years-old. At the beginning, his company started with their first division, Kiriya Cafe Shop, located in the Boeung Keng Kang area.
Today, Tri Asia Group has eight divisions, with different potential for growth. Investments in companies such as Kiriya coffee shop; CL & TAG, an e-solutions company; restaurants, including Ga Chi and Aha Khmer; human resource agency CamUp; Nikkam Construction; TV3 Asia; TAG Wholesale Trader; Beestate; and the TAG Football club in Phnom Penh.
Nikkam Construction, established nearly two years ago, has around 20 ongoing projects, said Go Yoshida, director of Tri Asia Group. Nikkam Construction provides services in areas such as architecture, civil engineering, construction, design and interior design.
“All construction standards we use are Japanese and of high quality,” he said. “We just finished interior designs for some shops in Aeon Mall, while currently we have a project in the Vattanak Building” along Preah Monivong boulevard.
“Tri Asia Group has also signed an agreement with the CPL [Cambodia Properties Limited] for a Joint venture project to build a 15 storey-high building of condominiums located in the Boeung Trabek area. This condominium complex will meet the requirements for Grade A residential,” Go said.
Nikkam Construction is fully equipped for large scale infrastructure rehabilitation such as “building bridges and national road construction,” Go said. “In the very short future Tri Asia Group will celebrate the inaugural ceremony for the rebuilding of one of the most important national roads for the Cambodian economy.”
This project will widen a national road from 8 metres 20 metres. The road is almost 400 kilometres long, with 180 bridges.
Tomoyuki Yokoi, Go Yoshida and Hidenori Hashimoto, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives, said they foresee a fruitful and successful future in business in Cambodia, and they all say they are very happy in the Kingdom.
“Here I see that most Cambodian people believe that tomorrow will be better. They all have the hope,” Tomoyuki said. “It’s very rare to see this kind of hope for Japanese people living in Japan.”
“The Cambodian people have a pure heart,” Yokoi added. “It’s that simple.”
“If we make a new business in Japan, communication is very complicated and slow [because now there too many majority companies], but here in Cambodia it is simplistic and easier,” Yokoi said.
“We’re the venture company so we need to be fast. But in previous decades before our Japanese companies, we always made decisions quickly so this is natural to us,” Yokoi said.
“If I have more sources to invest in something new, I will invest in another new business in Cambodia. I have planed to start a new mobile company. I also want to make a new lifestyle for the modern Cambodian people based on new Japanese technology,” Yokoi said. “I will not go to any country, my contribution is just for Cambodia.”