The General Department of Taxation (GDT) reports that it has collected 214.68 billion riel ($53.01 million) in taxes from e-commerce to date since May 2022 – with an above-average 36.62 billion riel or $9.04 million last month alone – in a feat seen as an indication of the rising trends of online shopping and trading in Cambodia, especially in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

This was revealed in a GDT press release issued in conjunction with a February 16 meeting to review the department’s tax collection results for January and set the work direction. The document used a 4,050 USD/KHR conversion rate, as is the norm for this type of release.

When asked for comment on the tax collection figures, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng responded that e-commerce has allowed goods to reach a wider audience and boosted overall domestic sales, and that online transactions have been on the rise since the advent of Covid-19.

“People now are using e-commerce a lot to sell or promote their products since they’re able to reach out to others more easily and quickly. The rapid growth of e-commerce has also opened up larger markets for our homemade products, enabling boosts in sales,” he said.

Speaking to The Post on February 20, Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath interpreted the relatively large e-commerce tax collection figures as a sign of the efficiency of government efforts to ensure that online sellers properly and legally register their businesses.

“There was an increase in the number of registrations of online businesses after the government called for them to be properly registered … [and] e-commerce has been surging over the last few years especially after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, when many took their purchases online.

“One can plainly see how much more widely e-commerce has opened markets for our products, as domestic digital payment options become ever more convenient,” he said.

On March 31, 2022 the Ministry of Commerce formally launched CambodiaTrade with integrated marketing solutions, regarded as a key component of the Cambodia e-Commerce Development Project (Go4eCAM). This was about half a year after the platform’s soft-launch in September 2021.

The e-commerce platform is said to be in line with the government’s long-term vision of maximising the value earned from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

At the launch, minister Pan Sorasak said the platform would be an important engine for economic diversification while providing exposure in the domestic and international markets for Cambodian products.

He attributed the development of the underlying digital technology to the Kingdom’s industrial development policy as it pertains to economic diversification, adding that the e-marketplace would connect local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to regional and global value chains.

The minister said the technological revolution and digital transformation brought about by the 4IR are key to boosting the competitiveness of enterprises and business processes. As such, it would contribute to improving productivity, increasing exports, creating jobs and stimulating the national economy.

According to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the number of e-wallet accounts in the Kingdom reached 17.9 million at end-December amid an acceleration in electronic payment volumes driven in part by Covid-19 anxiety, reflecting gradual fintech (financial technology) development towards achieving the government’s digital economy objectives.