Cambodia Gets Its First ‘Yellow Pages’

Up until a few years ago, if you didn’t have someone’s business card, you wouldn’t be calling him.

Not anymore.

Within the next few weeks, 20,000 copies of Cambodia’s first “Yellow Pages”—a complete listing of the businesses in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville—will be available free for all businesses and organizations.

The Cambodia Yellow Pages contains about 13,000 entries from 6,000 companies, said Kim Gjemmestad, an executive for Interquess, which researched the directory.

For the past 10 months, 10 to 15 “data clerks” have been canvassing Phnom Penh on foot, go­ing from business to business signing them up for the directory.

They did it three times, too, just to be sure of their accuracy, Gjem­­mestad said. The new directory includes a search index, maps, and categorical and alphabetical entries. In many ways, the well-organized directory acts like “the doorman at a hotel,” Gjem­mestad said. “He’s the most im­portant person.”

The Ministry of Posts and Tele­communications now holds the copyright for the “walking fingers” icon in Cambodia, making the Interquess guide the only “official” Yellow Pages in the country, though there are other telephone listings.

The new Yellow Pages leave people with a positive first impression of Cambodia, Gjemmestad said. “People say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know Cambodia was this developed,’” he said.

Businesses and the government have begun to realize the value of directories, not only for advertising, but just to be found in Phnom Penh’s scattered neighborhoods. “It’s hard to get noticed here,” he said.

With any luck, white pages, a directory of private home telephone numbers, will be available in a year or two, he said.


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