Cambodia saw a 4 per cent increase in new registered companies for the first three months of 2015, with 1,108 businesses registering with the Ministry of Commerce, compared to 1,066 during the same period last year.
The ministry’s data currently does not specify the country of origin or which sector these businesses operate in, but Ken Ratha, a ministry spokesman, said Chinese companies led the pack followed by Japan and South Korea.
“The trend of large investment by the Japanese, such as Aeon mall and other brand name companies, are coming in increasingly, making other Japanese companies interested in the Cambodia market.”
Ratha said that a majority of the companies were agro-business related and a clear breakup, based on country of origin and business type, will be available only later in the year.
According to the ministry’s data, the number of new company registrations increased over the last five years after experiencing a slump in 2008 and 2009.
While the number of registrations in 2007 were more than 2,800, this figure dropped to 2,744 and 2,003 in the following two years, on account of the global economic slowdown following the financial crisis in 2008.
But registrations in the last five years have steadily increased, with 3,850 new registrations reported last year, an increase of 39 per cent from 2013 and an average of 321 new companies registering monthly.
So Phonnary, executive vice president of Acleda Bank, said an increase in new companies entering the market will benefit the Cambodian economy and the banking sector as well, because these businesses will need financial services.
“More business registration means more job creation, more money flow, and more demand of banking services,” she said. “Loan outstanding in our bank is projected to increase very well this year compared to a few years before.”
Owing to an increase in companies setting up at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, Acleda set up a new branch this January in the economic zone to cater to the banking needs of new companies, especially Japanese firms.
The Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) conducted a survey late last year and found out that 80 per cent of Japanese companies in Cambodia are looking to expand their local operations
Another positive takeaway from the survey was the increase in investor confidence, with Japanese businesses’ confidence exceeding 60 per cent among the 40 or so respondents, indicating strong expectations for an upswing in local operations and revenues.