Enterprise Singapore’s Cooperation with Cambodia
Enterprise Singapore, formerly International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING Singapore, is the Singapore Government agency championing enterprise development. Enterprise Singapore works with committed companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise. We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and start-ups. As the national standards and accreditation body, we continue to build trust in Singapore’s products and services through quality and standards.
Singapore investments have contributed to the development of Cambodia
Singapore and Cambodia enjoy good bilateral relations. This is reflected in the economic ties between the two countries. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, Singapore was Cambodia’s 2nd largest foreign investor in 2017 with fixed investments totalling over US$250 million. Singapore investments in Cambodia span a range of sectors including property development, financial services, energy, agriculture, and logistics.
Some of the larger Singapore investments are in the real estate and hospitality sectors. These include the “Himawari Hotel Apartments”; “The Bridge”, “The Peak” and “The Palms” which are joint developments by Singapore’s Oxley Holdings and Cambodia’s Worldbridge; and “D’Seaview”, a freehold mixed-used development in Sihanoukville by the Hong Lai Huat (HLH) Group.
Beside real estate, Singapore companies have also invested in power infrastructure in Cambodia. Colben Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asiatic Group has invested in two power plants while Sunseap has built a 10 Mega Watt solar facility, Cambodia’s first large-scale Photovoltaic power plant.
The textile and garment sector is an important generator of jobs and export earnings for Cambodia. Ghim Li has a garment factory and Le Urban Eco City has invested in an industrial township about 30 minutes’ drive from Phnom Penh City Airport which houses apparel manufacturers.
Most notably, the Cambodia Garment Training Centre Institute (CGTI) – jointly operated by Cambodia’s Garment Manufacturers Association and Singapore’s Textile and Association Federation’s Training Centre (TAF.TC) – was officially launched last August with the purpose of developing a pipeline of skilled workers for the garment and textile industry. Given that there are currently more than 600 garment factories in Cambodia and cost pressure from rising wages, the CGTI plays an important role in helping to improve the skills of Cambodian workers and maintain Cambodia’s competitiveness.
Finally, Singapore trading and distribution companies like Goodhill Enterprises and LSH Cambodia which supply to hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, have helped to bring in new consumer products to an increasingly wealthy and discerning rising middle income class.
Enterprise Singapore is supporting more Singapore companies to invest in Cambodia
The past two years have seen even stronger interest from Singapore companies, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in Cambodia. They are drawn by the ease of setting up business and the abundance of business opportunities in Cambodia. Enterprise Singapore has been facilitating interested Singapore companies by organizing investment seminars to increase awareness of doing business in Cambodia and bringing new Singapore companies to Cambodia through business missions and connecting them with the Singapore community in Cambodia.
Enterprise Singapore’s Cambodia seminar saw a strong turnout
In September 2017, Enterprise Singapore organised a seminar on ‘Doing Business in Cambodia’. The strong turnout reflected Singapore companies’ interest in the market. Enterprise Singapore was honoured to have Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary General of the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) HE Sok Chenda Sophea as the keynote speaker. Singapore companies which are already present in Cambodia such as Goodhill Enterprises and Le Urban Eco Park also shared their first-hand experiences on Cambodia’s business culture and how first-time entrant businesses could navigate the market.
Enterprise Singapore has been facilitating business delegation visits to Cambodia
In February 2017, Enterprise Singapore led a delegation of Singapore companies to explore business opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sector of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The delegation comprised companies providing a spectrum of services including hospitality development, master planning, vocational training, mobile application and payment solutions.
With the support of the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, the delegation met senior government officials and visited key tourism sites to understand the government’s developmental plans for the two cities. Enterprise Singapore has also been working closely with Singapore Trade Associations and Chambers, such as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) to support their business missions. In May 2017, SCCCI led a 40-member delegation to the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ) to explore business opportunities in the logistics and manufacturing sector and to network with business associations such as the Association of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia.
Within Cambodia, Enterprise Singapore works with Singapore Club Cambodia (SCC), the key Singaporean social club that helps to keep Singaporeans in Cambodia connected. Chaired by current President Mr Ng Chor Yee, who is also the owner of LSH Cambodia, SCC organises monthly “Shiok Night” sessions for Singaporean business people and employees in Cambodia to network. This association serves as a useful first-stop especially for first-time Singapore entrants who are looking for investment opportunities in Cambodia.
Sharing Best Practices with Cambodian Government
Singapore’s engagement with Cambodia goes beyond business and also extends to the government. In June this year, Enterprise Singapore, hosted a Cambodian study visit delegation that was interested to learn about Singapore’s best practices on trade facilitation, customs clearance and border control.
The delegation, headed by the Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, HE Dr Phalla Phan, comprised officials from the various departments under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fishery and Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.
During the visit, Enterprise Singapore arranged for the delegation to visit VCargo Cloud (VCC) Pte Ltd – which had successfully implemented the first phase of the National Single Window for the royal government of Cambodia. VCC is currently implementing the second phase of the Cambodia National Single Window (CNSW) project. This includes incorporating new modules to integrate six government ministries and line agencies, which includes two sea ports and one airport, to enhance and quicken the process of issuing business licenses and permits for import and export through technology.
Enterprise Singapore maintains a positive long-term outlook for Cambodia
With a high annual GDP growth of 7% since 2011 and low barriers of entry for foreign investors, Cambodia will continue to draw strong investments including from Singapore. Enterprise Singapore will continue to promote Cambodia to Singapore companies.
Said Mr Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore, “We see much potential for Singapore companies to further contribute to Cambodia’s growth and development, especially in the areas of infrastructure, education and training, and in tourism. We hope to facilitate more partnerships between Singapore and Cambodia companies to tap these growing opportunities in the market.”
Beyond being a market for Singapore investments, products and services, Cambodia could also be a sourcing market for Singapore. Singapore rice importers see Cambodia as a potential source country and have approached Enterprise Singapore for in-market contacts. Singapore looks forward to continue working with Cambodia for many more years ahead.