Cambodia’s digital journey: Internet startups surge amid COVID-19 pandemic challenges – Khmer Times

Cambodia is seeing a rapid growth in internet start-ups. The Asian Development Bank, though, says there’s a need for more ventures in areas such as health and agriculture. As Rian Maelzer reports, some companies are looking to fill that niche.

A tech expo in Phnom Penh, showcasing some of the country’s internet start-ups, of which there have been a lot more of late.

Chamroeun Mak, Cambodia Internet Start-up Association – CISA “CISA mandate to support, to work together with our key stakeholders including government, investor, policy maker and also the start-up people itself. We are trying to work with the government to promote the regulation that can support enabling environment for the start-up in Cambodia. We also try to connect the local start-up to the venture capital in the region.”

E-commerce and fintech have boomed. Despite the challenges, some startups in areas such as agriculture tech are also thriving.

Pakk Yourng, CEO, Agribee Cambodia “Agribee is a digital value chain, an agriculture value chain management system. We are connecting all the players together. We allow farmers to access funds, and access markets on digital platforms, and not just farmers but all stakeholders involved in the supply chain. They do the transactions on the digital platform. This is a revolution for the agriculture sector.”

They also ensure farmers and rice millers can get credit at lower interest rates. The pandemic accelerated the growth of health tech start-ups like this one.

Socheat Bin, Co-founder, Pethyoeung Healthcare “We address the problem of the healthcare in Cambodia where we fit the digital operation in the hospital and also connect the provider and healthcare consumer virtually, whereas the patient and the doctor can be easily connected together.”

Like Agribee, Pethyoeung believe they are as much a social enterprise as a business.

Socheat Bin, Co-founder, Pethyoeung Healthcare “We not just look at the number of the money. We look at the impact to the people who have the access to the health care.”

And they are addressing Cambodia’s acute shortage of skilled ICT workers by developing their own talent through an internship programme.

Rian Maelzer, Phnom Penh “The government sees digital transformation as a key to its goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by the year 2030.”

And despite the talent shortage, and need to improve regulations and infrastructure, Cambodia’s tech sector say the government is striving to enable more, successful ICT start-ups. CGTN

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