South Korean Business Delegation Eyes Garments, IT Sector

A business delegation from South Korea made up of investors in the garment and information technology sectors visited Cambodia yesterday, among them IT giants Samsung and LG Consulting and Solutions.

The investors held meetings with officials from the Council for the Development of Cambodia as well as private sector companies already doing business in Cambodia in order to learn from their experiences, according to Jae-hyun Cho, director for the Asean-Korea Center.

Mr Cho, whose organization was set up by the South Korean government last year with the aim of increasing Korea’s economic ties with the 10 member Asean bloc, said during an interview in Phnom Penh yesterday that the visit would help investors learn about how to do business in Cambodia.

“It’s not easy for individual companies to explore investment opportunities here,” Mr Cho said, noting that it is still difficult to access economic data on Cambodia’s major sectors.

Mr Cho said that more work still had to be done in Cambodia to convince people that their investments are guaranteed under a secure legal system.

Still, investment levels from Korean firms in Cambodia have risen from $111 million in 2005 to $1.6 billion last year, he said.

Lee Sang-bum, secretary-general of the South Korean Chamber of Commerce, said by telephone yesterday that after more than a year of declining textile sales, he had noticed a growing interest from Korean investors in Cambodia’s garment sector thanks to a rebound in demand form the US and Europe.

So far this year, two new garment factories from South Korea have set up in Cambodia, taking the total number of South Korean garment factories operating in Cambodia to 30, he said.

Lim Jae-hyun, general manager for In The F, a fashion company based in Seoul, said that rising costs in China, where the company has most of its operations, had brought him to Cambodia in search of new business opportunities.

“These days in China in terms of the garment industry [investment] is going down and people are moving to other countries,” he said, adding that free trade agreements between Asean members and countries such as China, Australia and New Zealand had also made the garment sector more lucrative in Cambodia.

Huh Youngmahn, a business engineer for LG CNS, said he had come to Cambodia to research the possibility of bringing a data center to compile national statistics for the government.

“This government has a hard time gathering statistics,” Mr Youngmahn said. “They need to gather it into one place.”

Mr Youngmahn said that national statistics were still largely scattered within the ministries. He also said that there was an opportunity for the firm to provide services in providing ID cards and passports.

 

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