Demand for baby and mother-care products in Cambodia is growing, as are expectations for quality goods. Roy M Chy, general director of distributor Baby Mother Group Corporation, sat down with the Post’s Laura Ma to discuss the trend.
Can you tell us a little about your company?
We import and distribute international brands of baby and mother care products. I started with Baby Mart in 2005, just a small business selling baby care products.
At the time, there wasn’t much out there in the way of quality. I had just had my first child and felt like there was something missing in Cambodia. Baby care products were only available at local markets. So I started a small shop and in a year and a half we expanded into the BMG Corporation that it is now.
What are the main brands you deal with?
Farlin, from Taiwan, Mothers-en-Vogue from Singapore, Graco from the US and Aprica from Japan. Our main dealers [stores that sell BMG imports] are specialised baby shops. We supply to Lucky Supermarket now, but they don’t have the full range that we have.
What’s the competition like in the industry?
Before I started BMG, there were only three baby stores. Now there are more than 50 shops, I think every month they open one or two.
Some are new businesses; some are branches from retailers already here. For mother care products, the market is small compared to the baby care market here.
It still grows, but slower than the baby care products. Mothers feel like there is less of a need for things like maternity dresses or nursing dresses.
We’ve grown more than 200 per cent in revenue since 2007. At least 35 per cent growth between 2011 and 2012. In Phnom Penh it was around 50 per cent, but it’s slower in the provinces. Siem Reap was around 20 per cent. Out of the 20 provinces, we are now in at least 15.
Who are your main customers?
So far, locals make up 80 per cent, expats 20 per cent. The market we deal with is mostly the local middle-class and rich people. In Siem Reap, locals are 60 per cent, expats around 40 per cent because of people who come in owning hotels and restaurants.
How do you account for the continued growth?
There is an expanding middle class here. I expect in two or three years, as the middle class grows, more people will start to change their mind and want to select more premium items.
And everybody is anticipating more business from the Asean Economic Cooperation, which is expected to commence in 2015.
How does this market cater to current demographics?
Cambodia has a lot of young people. They will be the “modern” parents. They will only have one or two babies. They can spend more on their baby, so they will buy the premium baby care products. When people have fewer children, they have more purchase power.
How do BMG’s imported products compete against cheaper products from Vietnam and Thailand?
Vietnam and Thailand are still strong in the low and medium quality markets. But consumerism is changing in Cambodia. They are seeing the value of better quality.
Not only can bad quality products affect a baby’s health, they can’t be used for long. So, in the long term, it’s a fair deal.
Our imported products from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan are surpassing sales of products from Thailand and Vietnam.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity