Mobile Transport App to Launch in Capital

A new mobile application that connects people looking for transportation with drivers will soon be available in Phnom Penh, the Singapore company that makes the app said Tuesday.

The app, Lompang, links users with personally screened drivers to provide efficient and safe rides within city limits.

When launched later this month, Phnom Penh will become the third city where the app is available, said Aaron Fu, the CEO of Lompang Holdings Pte. Ltd., the Singapore software developer that makes the app.

Lompang, which is a Chinese version of the Malay word for “hitch a ride,” was launched last year in Singapore. Last month, it was made available in Rangoon, Burma.

For the first six months in Phnom Penh, the app will be in a test phase with up to 10 pre-screened drivers and a cap on the number of users. Both users and drivers will increase according to demand, said Mr. Fu.

He said the company has not decided the mode of transportation in Phnom Penh. In Singapore, the drivers are on scooters. In Rangoon, they are mostly in taxis.

Mr. Fu admits that entering Cambodia is a risk. The smartphone market is low compared to Singapore and Thailand. Motodops and tuk-tuks are easily available at cheap prices.

He said the price of a ride here is still being determined, but he expects it to be around $1.

“In Phnom Penh, we do feel that smartphone penetration is low, but eventually it will grow. And at the end of the day, it is a middle-class-type product. So, they may pay for a safer ride. It may not be cheaper, but it is safer,” he said.

The number of smartphone users in Cambodia is not known. Last month, the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia pegged the number of mobile Internet subscribers at the end of 2013 at 3.8 million, 27 percent of the country’s population.

Lompang currently is available only on iOS devices. An Android version is expected by month’s end before it is launched in Phnom Penh.

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