Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - E-commerce failing to connect

E-commerce failing to connect

E-commerce failing to connect

090609_15.jpg
090609_15.jpg

Online purchasing still unrealised as engine of economic growth, say government and private sector, due to lack of users, undeveloped online transaction facilities and high Internet costs

Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON

An Internet user in Phnom Penh on Monday uses today.com.kh on, a domestic Internet site that markets its wares online. As with other sites in the Kingdom, online transactions are not available.

E-COMMERCE remains a marginal forum for domestic retail and trade, government and private-sector sources say, with human resources, online payment facilities and Internet usage remaining the biggest challenges to further development.

Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that significant progress in e-commerce remains unrealistic even though there has been development of key resources to boost online buying and selling.

"E-commerce is a must if we are to catch up with other countries [in online business] that are benefiting from this sector because it can help process things very quickly," he said. "But it depends on our capacity because it needs more know-how from people to engage more closely."

According to the latest UN Development Programme figures, Cambodia still has only 17,000 Internet subscribers, the second-lowest density in ASEAN, meaning the potential number of online consumers remains limited.

Younger people are becoming better trained and more interested in the possibilities of online trade, said Nguon Meng Tech, which he predicted should help its development.

Banks have few options for

facilitating online

transactions.

Ken Chanthan, president of the Information Communication Technology Association of Cambodia, said Monday that Cambodia is only at the very beginning of e-commerce development.

Still, only very few companies have their own Web sites, he said, with a lack of suitable online payment facilities hampering e-commerce development.

However, there has been growth, he said, with Cambodia showing promise for the future.

"I think within the next five years, our e-commerce can catch up ... because our country has a large proportion of young people and a fast-emerging telecoms sector," he said.

E-commerce would be particularly useful in the current economic climate, he said, given its main strengths as a vehicle for business, namely cost-cutting, increased productivity and efficient payment methods that can boost customer satisfaction.

"E-commerce development remains a big challenge because Cambodia still lacks IT policies, an e-commerce law, other cyberlaws and transaction laws," said Ken Chanthan. "Development would be rapid if the government took serious action to help in terms of legislation, policies funding and technical assistance."

BI Group, a company which has launched two Web sites to sell goods online, typifies the problems that Cambodian companies looking to e-commerce development still encounter.

No payment online

Director Chea Sothy says that a lack of online transaction capabilities mean that his company can advertise products online - everything from computers to digging machinery - but that payment must be made in person.

"We still face many problems such as high Internet costs with slow speeds, high electricity costs, and banks have few options for facilitating online transactions ... there is no banking interconnectivity to facilitate local and international money transfers [online]," said Chea Sothy, who last week attended a three-day Greater Mekong Subregion forum on e-commerce in Kunming, China.

"E-commerce is very important for entrepreneurs to market and sell their products, and it can widely broadcast across the world, much more so than television," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for PP kidnapping

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –