A total of 20,574 companies, with cumulative “registered share capital” of $5.77 billion, were successfully registered on the Online Business Registration Platform – also known as the “Single Portal” – as of December 26 at 2pm, the Online Business Registration Service (“OBRS”) reported.

Additionally, as of December 26 at 2pm, 12,900 companies have made reservations to complete the registration process at a later date. Although no registration applications had been rejected as of December 26, two reservation requests have been declined.

The government launched the platform on June 15, 2020 to streamline the registration process for companies, as part of a package of sweeping reforms aimed at improving the business and investment environment in Cambodia to better compete internationally, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.

In its initial phase, just six ministries and state-run institutions were linked to the Single Portal: the finance, interior, commerce and labour ministries, and the General Department of Taxation (GDT) and Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

On September 1, 2021, the government deployed Phase II of the platform integrating four new agencies – the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority’s (NBFSA) Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (REBPB), and the industry, tourism and telecoms ministries.

The OBRS, which is under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, reported that 38 per cent per cent of the companies on the Single Portal are women-owned as of December 26.

Broken down by business activities, “building construction” accounted for the lion’s share at $974 million or 17 per cent, followed by “real estate activities involving the use of one’s own, or leased properties” ($717 million; 12 per cent), “management consulting” ($296 million; five per cent), “manufacture of wearing apparel,except fur apparel” ($281 million; five per cent) and “specialised wholesale” ($261 million; five per cent).

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng claims that Single Portal registrations have been buoyed by: updates to the legal requirements for enlistment; development of the associated IT infrastructure; and overall economic growth.

Heng remarked that enlisting can provide a slew of benefits for authorities and business owners. For example, he said, registration data can guide the government in drawing up policies to support and safeguard businesses from potential risks.

Registration can also improve transparency and efficiency in matters concerning market competition as well as inspire confidence among consumers, he said. “Inactivity and fraud would be reduced if all businesses were anchored in strict compliance with the law.”

More effective law enforcement will drive up volumes of domestic and foreign direct investment, he asserted.

Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprise of Cambodia (FASMEC) president Te Taingpor contended that the steady rise in Single Portal registrations reflects a generally-increasing understanding among business owners of their legal and regulatory obligations, especially those who operate in the digital space.

“The number of listed companies will keep growing faster, which is a step forward in making competition more equitable,” he claimed, suggesting that registration would reduce fraudulent transactions.

For reference, as of December 26 an average of 22 companies have been successfully registered each day since the Single Portal’s inception. This figure rose to 29 in the period between November 28 at 2pm and December 26 at 2pm, when 818 businesses were listed.

The Single Portal can be accessed at registrationservices.gov.kh.