The total capital of the businesses registered on the Online Business Registration Platform reached 19.151 trillion riel ($4.671 billion) in its first two years, according to the finance ministry.
Since its launch on June 15, 2020 until June 14, 2022, a total of 14,676 businesses were successfully registered on the integrated system, known as the Single Portal, the ministry said in a statement. Of those, 230 were approved after 5pm of June 6, official data show.
The automotive sector – including importers, exporters, buyers, sellers and repair shops – accounted for the majority of registered businesses, at 39.5 per cent, followed by accommodation and food services (10.3 per cent), real estate (8.7 per cent), manufacturing (8.2 per cent), IT and telecoms (6.3 per cent) and others (26.9 per cent).
And in terms of investment volume, construction took up the largest share at 21.6 per cent, followed by manufacturing (18 per cent), the automotive sector (15.4 per cent), real estate (14.6 per cent), insurance and finance (7.4 per cent) and others (22.9 per cent).
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, the government deployed Phase II of the platform integrating four new agencies – the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (REBPB), and the industry, tourism and telecoms ministries.
The release noted that 239 businesses have applied for licences, permits or certificates from the ministries and institutions that were newly linked in Phase II, and that just one application was rejected, by the telecoms ministry.
According to the finance ministry, Phase III is due to be launched soon. However, an exact date or a list of agencies planned to be integrated into the platform for the new phase were not immediately available.
But of note, prior to the launch of Phase II, the ministry had noted that the agriculture and health ministries and the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) were planned to be incorporated at a later date.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said his institution has supported the Single Portal since the beginning, adding that the underlying Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) system was designed to facilitate investments in the Kingdom.
Launched on the same day as the Single Portal and based on the model of Estonia’s X-Road, the CamDX system 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.
Heng said: “The business registration system, established by the Ministry of Economy [and Finance], came during the Covid-19 crisis, and so was very convenient for businesspeople. It was part of in-depth economic reforms, and significantly reduces bureaucracy.
“In the next stages, we expect more key functions to be developed for the system to make things even more convenient when it comes to doing business in Cambodia,” he added.
In an interview with the finance ministry, Sabay Osja Co Ltd co-founder Ear Uy said the Single Portal provides convenience and saves time, requiring just a one-time business registration form that can be completed without outside assistance.
“In my experience, there doesn’t seem to be any real issues in using the system, there’s only the much greater benefit of not having to run up and down to do all the paperwork, wasting a bunch of time, but just having to fill in the information through the system and be done with it,” he said.
The Single Portal was launched as part of a package of sweeping reforms aimed at enhancing competitiveness and improving the business and investment environment in Cambodia, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. The platform can be accessed at registrationservices.gov.kh.