A total of 558 companies were successfully registered on the “Phase II” component of the Online Business Registration Platform – also known as the “Single Portal” – in its 601 days of existence as of April 24 at 2pm, according to the Online Business Registration Service (“OBRS”).

This marks a 35.8 per cent jump from the 411 firms announced by the OBRS – a unit under the Ministry of Economy and Finance – for January 2 at 2pm, just 112 days earlier.

Approvals for the Single Portal’s Phase II component are given by four agencies: the telecoms, tourism and industry ministries, as well as the Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (RPR).

OBRS statistics showed that the telecoms ministry greenlit the most, at 263, followed by the tourism ministry (199), the RPR (87) and the industry ministry (9) during the period between the September 1, 2021 launch of the Single Portal’s Phase II and April 24, 2023.

Only two companies have ever been rejected by the Phase II agencies – one each by the telecoms and tourism ministries.

The government launched the Single Portal on June 15, 2020 to streamline the company registration process. Six agencies were linked to its “Phase I” component: 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 – a total of 443 days later – the government deployed the platform’s Phase II component – integrating the aforementioned four additional agencies – to be simultaneously operated with its Phase I counterpart.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng remarked that registrations are accelerating despite the uncertainty and fragility of the global economic environment, which he interpreted as increasing awareness among business owners of their obligations. This, he said, is motivating them to ensure that their businesses are legally compliant.

These rising figures could also inspire confidence among investors who may be on the fence about entering the Cambodian market, he claimed, asserting that all investments in the Kingdom are “transparent” and bound to the “same” legal requirements.

He predicted that registrations on the Single Portal’s Phase II component would remain on the upswing, “especially as the global economy stabilises”, mainly driven by the straightforwardness and speed of the process, as well as the lack of associated informal costs.

At the launch ceremony for the Single Portal’s Phase II component, finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth suggested that Cambodia’s digital transformation should centre on seizing and maximising the benefits of breakthroughs in the electronic and ICT (information and communication technology) sphere.

And, that transformation should be leveraged to promote productivity, efficiency and economic growth, as well as a society that evolves with the times, distinguished by beneficial and readily-available digital services that are highly inclusive, safe and reliable, he said.

The Phase II component comes timely, amid the implementation of a policy framework focused on the advantages of digital technologies and the management thereof, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, he added.

The minister remarked that the underlying Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) system allows the Single Portal to run smoothly, and without requiring the same information and data to be provided to multiple sources.

“[The Phase II component makes things] much easier, and reduces costs and procedures while saving time – from 15-30 days previously to just three-to-seven working days if the request meets the requirements,” Pornmoniroth added.

Launched on June 15, 2020 – the same day as the Single Portal – and modelled after Estonia’s X-Road, the CamDX platform is a decentralised but unified data-exchange layer between information systems that provides a standardised and secure way to produce and consume services, according to its website.