From Shipwreck to Fintech: One Entrepreneur’s Journey From Refugee To Billionaire

Cambodia can be a hard sell, but Rithy Sear relishes the challenge. When he courts potential business partners from overseas, he listens to their worries about the small size of the market, the flourishing trade in smuggled goods, the corruption. And once they’re done, he begins working tirelessly to reshape their opinions.

Sear’s negotiating advantages are preparation and confidence. He usually doesn’t meet investors in his office. That’s a cluttered, temporary suite in the Phnom Penh headquarters of his Worldbridge International, his logistics, property and investment company. Instead, he chooses the exclusive business lounge on the 12th floor of the Sofitel Hotel, where the floor-to-ceiling windows lead your eyes to The Bridge, his gleaming 45-story hotel, retail and condominium complex that will be completed by the end of the year. That’s where he’ll present his argument.

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