Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham), hosted the Cambodia Franchise Expo on May 5.

The virtual expo brought together nine well regarded US franchising companies – The Boiling Crab, Chili's, Dickey's BBQPit, Duck Donuts, Long John Silver's, Mathnasium, Snap Fitness, Tapout Fitness and Tumbles – with over 30 Cambodian businesses and entrepreneurs to discuss potential partnerships.

Delivering the opening remarks at the event, ambassador Patrick Murphy said trade and investment flows between the US and the Kingdom are increasing.

Murphy said more US companies are arriving in the Kingdom each year, bringing with them what he said were ethical business practices, high labour and environmental standards, and strong corporate social responsibility programmes that connect with local communities.

He said that with high standards, innovation, and quality of products and services, US businesses are often the first way Cambodians connect with the US.

US companies and famous brands have been overall successful and are growing in Cambodia, ranging from Ford automobiles and Facebook to Starbucks coffee and Papa John's pizza, he added.

“Cambodians seek out these high-quality products and services, and there is an appetite for more. This event is just one of many conducted by the US embassy to introduce more US companies to Cambodia.

“You see many of these brands in Southeast Asia today – Bangkok, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. The time is right to see them in Phnom Penh as well.

“I am confident that the expo will raise awareness of excellent business opportunities and establish connections that yield results for both countries,” Murphy said.

AmCham president Anthony Galliano told The Post on May 5 on the sidelines of the event that increasing awareness of US brands and standards, and supporting the sales of US products and services in the Kingdom is part of a Joint Working Plan executed between the embassy and AmCham.

He explained that the US has been the world leader in franchising since the 1930s, with proven business models and world-renown and recognised brands. There are over 782,000 franchised businesses that generate $890 billion a year, he said.

“US franchises present a superb opportunity for entrepreneurs in Cambodia and the franchise expo is linking leading brands considering entry with potential businesses interested in operating them in the Kingdom.

“The success of US franchises businesses in Cambodia is absolutely evident and a proven model, and there is substantial interest for further brand expansion. US brands are omnipresent and everyday use in Cambodia. In particular, fast food, hospitality and real estate brands are dominant and resilient, even in the challenging Covid economy,” Galliano said.

He listed Starbucks, Burger King, KFC, 7-Eleven, Domino's, Century 21, Papa John's, Marriott, Hyatt and KFC as examples of “extremely successful” franchises in the Kingdom.

He stressed that there is a significant opportunity to introduce new franchises beyond the traditional sectors currently present, such as in fitness, childcare, healthcare and retail.

The US remains Cambodia's largest trading partner and export market.

The latest data from the US trade office shows that Cambodian exports to the world's largest economy skyrocketed last year, growing by 40 per cent to reach $5.36 billion.

The Kingdom was the US' 66th largest goods trading partner in 2018, achieving $4.3 billion in bilateral trade.