Many dream of starting a business in Cambodia or in Southeast Asia in general, because these countries offer a high quality of life and low costs.
In reality, countries like Thailand are already heavily exploited and are not as cheap as they were 20 years ago. In addition, there is another disadvantage that causes problems for potential investors in countries like Thailand, the Philippines or Vietnam: A local partner who owns 51% of the company is always required. Although law firms offer a solution to this problem, it is never completely risk-free.
Cambodia is practically the only country in Southeast Asia that allows you to run a business 100% in your name, even if you are a foreigner.
Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of about 15 million people. The main language is Cambodian, which is also called Khmer.
Since the death of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader, the country has enjoyed peace and stability and is experiencing strong economic growth.
The country has considerable tourist potential, it has impressive temples, islands and paradisiacal beaches with palm trees, crystal clear water and white sand.
Since 2015, it has been a member of the ACS (Southeast Asian Economic Union), which is composed of 10 Southeast Asian countries between which there are no tariffs.
This represents a market of more than 500 million people, almost 10% of the world’s population.
Cambodia is not only one of the countries in the world that has experienced the fastest growth in recent years, but also a country with great tax advantages and open to foreign investment.
The taxes paid range from 0% to a maximum of 20%, depending on the profits made.
Unlike most countries in Southeast Asia, it is possible to own 100% of a company. What a foreigner cannot buy and own, of course, is land. It is possible to buy a condo, but not own a house or land
Although the official currency is the Cambodian riel, the dollar is accepted in Cambodia and is commonly used everywhere. You can have an account in both dollars and riel at banks, you can withdraw money in both currencies from ATMs, and you can accept and make payments in both currencies at any store.
Labor costs are low. The average wage of a Cambodian does not exceed $100 per month in most cases.
Tourism is on the rise. There are more and more air connections with the 3 main airports of the country and the tourist interest in this country continues to grow. The main attraction is the temple complex Angkor Wat, but also the two islands Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are becoming more and more known and visited, as well as the famous coastal town of Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville, the most famous and developed coastal city in the country, has its own airport and beautiful beaches. It is common to find British and Western retirees living here. The competition is mostly local.
Kampot and Kep are located in the coastal region after Sihanoukville, almost on the border with Vietnam. They are untouched and unknown areas for mass tourism and offer great opportunities that are yet to be exploited. These could be great areas to invest in Cambodia now.
Koh Rong Island is the most important tourist island in the country. It is frequented by tourists, mainly backpackers, although family tourism is just beginning. Tourism is already very active, but the tourist services offered are still sparse. The island holds beautiful beaches, but they are difficult to reach due to the lack of transportation.
Siem Reap, the country’s main tourist destination, is popular with tourists all year round thanks to its proximity to the Angkor temples. It is the most developed city in Cambodia. It seems to be the best place to start a business, but it is also the place where you will have the most competition.
Phnom Penh is the capital. Everything is still under construction, dirty and without great attractions. But it is the capital of the country. Some say you remember Bangkok 30 years ago.
The real estate sector is the main strength of this city and it is growing spectacularly.
How much does it cost to open a business in Cambodia?
It depends on the type of business you want to start, but there are foreigners who have started a business in recent years even with less than €7,000.
To open a business in Cambodia, all you need is a bank account with a balance of at least $1,300 and a work permit, which you can apply for yourself when you open your business and which costs no more than $100 per year.
A health certificate and sometimes a criminal record from the country of origin is also often required.
To open a business and manage your accounts, we strongly recommend that you entrust yourself to a specialized agency that will save you time and money.
Most of the information you can find on the Internet about starting a business in Cambodia is in English, such as B2B-Cambodia, a portal with tips and articles about starting a business in Cambodia.
In summary, I would say that Cambodia is a country full of opportunities, in full development and still quite economic, and I am sure that in 10 years this will not be the case anymore.
In any case, the general rule is that to invest in Cambodia, as in any other country in the world, it is essential to live there for a while to understand how it works, adapt to the local society and see first hand the advantages and disadvantages.