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Keeping up with the economy

Ngorn Saing, chief executive of RMA Cambodia, talks to the Post from his office in Phnom Penh last month.
Ngorn Saing, chief executive of RMA Cambodia, talks to the Post from his office in Phnom Penh last month. Heng Chivoan

Keeping up with the economy

One of Cambodia’s biggest diversified companies, RMA, is active in three core industries: automotive, food and beverage, and infrastructure. The Post’s Ayanna Runcie sat down with the Ngorn Saing, CEO of RMA Cambodia, to discuss the country’s business landscape and potential for growth.

What attracts new brands to Cambodia and how much room is there in the market?

With the economy growing, everyone is looking for a new market. Many new brands are coming to Cambodia right now and this is an opportunity for some international brands to come with us into the market.

There is still room for other brands to enter the market on the food and vehicle side. The growing industry of agriculture and tourism, as well as the increased lifestyle of people, is creating a lot of opportunities for us and we will see this grow further.

What major trends will influence business development in Cambodia in the coming decade?

The lifestyle trend of the people is changing. People have moved more to high-quality standard products and they are changing their living style to favour more international brands, like in other countries, where people look at the brand of products. There are also opportunities for local businessmen to develop their own products and market high-standard products.

What are your personal goals for RMA group?

I have a clear objective that whatever product we bring in, we want it to be number one in the market. I also want RMA to be a place that people want to work for.

Do you plan to bring any new brands or partnerships to the RMA group?

We are looking for a few more brands in almost every segment and every industry. This year we brought in one new brand, Krispy Kreme, and hopefully next year we will have one or two more.

Have you considered a local assembly production for your automobile or heavy-equipment brands?

We did before but it’s not competitive because the market is small and there is no import tax, so we are not encouraged to have local production.

Are you currently considering any acquisitions?

So far, we’re focused on organic growth versus mergers or acquisitions.

What opportunities do you see in the development of the AEC and how is RMA capitalising on them?

The opportunity for us as a multinational company with multinational products is in people, because there are limited human resources in this country for hi-tech products. So our opportunity is to take some people from other ASEAN countries for wherever we have a shortage. Another benefit is that importing some products from ASEAN counties allows us to have a competitive price since there is no import tariff on goods from other ASEAN countries. We still have a challenge, however, because some of the products we import are from outside of the AEC, where we have to pay full tariffs.

What can the government do to encourage more investment?

The government should have a clear policy of who should be in the real regime, and I think that everyone has to be included in one set of rules. They should make it that those who import a product must be the ones who sell it. If the government does this, it will get more benefit than it gets now and create more transparency in the market also.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

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