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Delivery apps booming in midst of Covid-19 epidemic

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A motorcycle delivery man of Muuve – a food delivery service based in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Delivery apps booming in midst of Covid-19 epidemic

While the fear of catching Covid-19 has kept some people out of restaurants and fast food shops, food delivery companies have reported a sharp growth in business since the virus emerged.

Muuve is a food delivery service based in Phnom Penh with about 95,000 users and its head of marketing, Hoeun Sodalen, confirmed the uptick in business.

“During the last three months before the outbreak, orders on Muuve have increased by 130 per cent,” she told The Post.

Muuve partners with 80 per cent of the restaurants in Phnom Penh and they offer everything from street food to takeout from restaurants.

“We only offer a food delivery service at this point, but we are working on expanding shortly to provide conveniences for our customers during this critical time,” she said. The service is only available in Phnom Penh though.

Muuve’s app customises the categories and preferences of food based on the users’ interests, she said. The most popular ordered items are street food, fast food and milk tea.

“To respond to the outbreak, we have also been working on developing a feature to track Covid-19 in all of Cambodia.

“We also teach our drivers to practice social distancing and hygiene throughout the whole process – from picking up food in stores to delivering it to the customer,” she said.

Nham24 is a similar app and its co-founder, Som Tom echoed Sodalen’s sentiments that orders have spiked on the app since the coronavirus’ outbreak.

“We see a growing number of orders for food and goods being shipped every day because people are afraid of the spread of the coronavirus, and are confining themselves at home,” he said.

Tom said in response to the increased demand, Nham24 has expanded, partnering with more than 2,000 restaurants and stores in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and he plans to expand to three other provinces – Kampong Cham, Kampot and Battambang.

“The increasing popularity of smartphones in Cambodia has also boosted sales in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Chef Seng Hok Heng moved his catering business online after people started avoiding large parties in response to the coronavirus.

He published a Facebook page titled Hengmart and a website (www.senghokheng.com), where users can order food and groceries in Phnom Penh.

The general manager of Hok Heng’s business, Touch Ratha, told The Post the move online was made to make it easier for customers to order food.

He said the company receives an average of 150 food orders per day, and he expects to soon reach 300 per day.

Ratha attributes the recent spike in sales to Hok Heng’s dedication to providing a safe, hygienic food service at an affordable price.

“The orders are increasing daily, in line with the trend of more people preferring to use social networks to sell goods,” he said.

A report by the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia indicated an increase in mobile phone subscribers in the Kingdom last year. The 16.12 million subscribers reported last year was an increase of 18.5 per cent from 2018.

The number of registered Facebook accounts in 2018 also rose 29 per cent last year to 8.8 million accounts.

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