The Ministry of Commerce is poised to roll out CambodiaTrade, an e-commerce marketplace, to open new pathways for the Kingdom’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell their wares to a broader audience and capture a slice of the growing global digital economy.

Now open for preregistration, the platform will be operated through under the auspices of the ministry, the cabinet-level government body said in a press release.

CambodiaTrade was set up to assist the Kingdom’s SMEs in selling their products online to potential customers in domestic and foreign markets, the ministry said.

Applicant SMEs must, among other things, be formally registered with the ministry; have valid business licences, permits and value added tax (VAT) identification numbers; and sell products made in Cambodia, it said.

“Once registration is approved, SMEs can fill their inventory by posting their products on their store pages. Those products will be unveiled at the market when it is officially launched,” the ministry said.

Thaung Thyda, managing director of Kampot-Kep salt processing firm Thaung Trading Co Ltd, said CambodiaTrade is “good, from the local SME perspective”, lauding it as a springboard for SMEs, transcending national boundaries to attain a truly global reach in the digital economy.

Local SMEs that discover the platform will build the skills and receive the support needed to enter new markets, she said. “These are opportunities to trot out services or products to increase business and brand visibility, as well as vitalise international relations.” she said.

Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association president Keo Mom said the ministry’s platform was a positive step to encourage local producers to move their products online, in addition to a slew of other initiatives taken by the government to boost domestic production.

As online shopping rises in popularity around the world, she said CambodiaTrade could provide an effective avenue for homemade Cambodian products to reach a wider customer base.

“I hope that the online marketplace platform will help local SMEs sell their products more broadly, locally and abroad,” she said, calling on the ministry to promote CambodiaTrade “more broadly to the public – especially the private sector – and make them aware of it, as it could boost sales of our homemade products.”

The market was established with the financial support of the Enhanced Integrated Framework under the Cambodia e-Commerce Development Project (Go4eCAM), the main purpose of which is to promote the benefits of e-commerce for SMEs, according to the ministry.

As of end-2019, there were 52,154 formally registered SMEs in the Kingdom, with 824,245 employees, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.