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

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there