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Electronics imports surge one-third on-year: ministry

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A student holds a circuit board at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, in 2022. Heng Chivoan

Electronics imports surge one-third on-year: ministry

Cambodia imported $904.3 million worth of “electronics” in 2022 – surging by 33.2 per cent from $678.9 million in 2021 – with the fourth quarter accounting for the lion’s share at 28.61 per cent of the annual total, according to figures from the finance ministry’s General Department of Policy.

Offering a breakdown in its economic and financial statistics bulletins, the department put the quarterly totals respectively at $196.90 million, $199.35 million, $249.35 million and $258.71 million, all marking year-on-year increases, of 29.6 per cent, 40.1 per cent, 26.1 per cent and 38.4 per cent.

Using provisional Customs (GDCE) data for reference, this “electronics” category accounted for 3.02 per cent of Cambodia’s $29.942 billion worth of imports in 2022. The category’s share during each quarter breaks down as 2.64 per cent, 2.37 per cent, 3.16 per cent and 4.19 per cent.

Of note, the grouping differs from the “electrical, electronic equipment” category – or Chapter 85 of the Harmonised System (HS) – imports of which, according to the GDCE, came to $1.464 billion in 2022, climbing by 22.98 per cent on an annual basis.

Speaking to The Post on March 27, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng commented that electronics demand has been on a steady upswing, as the government adopts measures to encourage technology adoption among ministries, institutions and businesses.

Heng argued that the Kingdom’s developing nation status will continue to underpin growth in electronics exports, which he described as “evidence of rising household affluence in Cambodia”.

Production activities intended to fulfil demand – whether domestic or foreign – have greatly benefited from electronics, he stressed.

The Covid-19 crisis also prompted Cambodians to use modern gadgets more frequently, he said, adding that electronics can meaningfully expedite and streamline work while also reducing associated costs.

Cambodia Digital Tech Association president Chhin Ken remarked that electronic device adoption has been on a gradual rise among Cambodians, particularly smartphone users.

Electronics are emerging as increasingly important tools for practically everyone, he emphasised, suggesting that bringing up overall electronics usage to appreciably high levels could better persuade large-scale investors to strengthen their commitments to Cambodian markets.

“There are fewer electronics out there in Cambodia with not as many consumers able to use them than in nearby nations, but with continued efforts, I anticipate that usage of electronics and sophisticated technologies here will increase,” he said.

Electronics demand will grow, as the government encourages the public to learn more about emerging tech, Ken added.

Meanwhile, the three-day “1st Cambodia-International Science, Technology & Innovation Expo” organised by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation is still underway at the Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre, until March 28.

The event marked the launch of the planned-to-be-annual National STI Day, on March 26, which the ministry bills as a sort of support for government policies and roadmaps linked to the Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035, towards bringing the Kingdom into the groups of upper-middle income and high-income nations by 2030 and 2050.

Although Cambodia imported a massive amount of Chapter 85 items last year, it exported 36.455 per cent more – to the tune of $1.998 billion, registering an 84.83 per cent hike from the $1.081 billion recorded in 2021, according to the GDCE.

For reference, the full title of Chapter 85 is “electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles”.


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