//Stop looking for the key to success in Phnom Penh

Stop looking for the key to success in Phnom Penh

I wrote here before that about 90% of Japanese companies in Cambodia are in the red. I suppose they are holding out because they are expecting further economic growth. But is success really waiting for them?
The other day, I visited Battambang for the first time on a business trip. I felt very comfortable staying there compared with Phnom Penh. I didn’t see many people, cars, and shops but still, the town was convenient enough. What surprised me the most was that I didn’t see many Chinese places. I guess it’s because there aren’t many Chinese people there.
You should easily know how much I was surprised if you live in Phnom Penh or have been to Sihanoukville.
But why is that so? Is Battambang so unattractive that no Chinese shows interest? The answer is NO. Battambang is the third biggest city in Cambodia and is historically and economically attractive.
One government official says that Battambang is the last place where Khmer culture remains alive therefore people and even the government care so much about the town and culture rooted there.
I think a lot of people expect economic growth and business opportunity when they open a business in Cambodia. However, they are not always welcoming you. It is true that chances are bigger than in Japan but China, the biggest rival, competes with you with their vast capital and fast decision-making. I’d say it’s already too late.
However, it’s a different story when it comes to Battambang. There are no foreign-owned malls and not as many condominiums as to cover up the sky. Above all, you don’t have to worry so much about rivals there.
What’s even better is people in Battambang are not cliquish countrymen. What if such people visit Phnom Penh on every big holiday because there is not enough entertainment in their neighborhood?
I don’t think Battambang is the ideal choice if you are looking for quick success but if you’ve got the guts to spend a long time and wish to grow up together with Cambodia, Battambang must be the one.
It, of course, depends on what business you own so I can’t guarantee 100% however if you make a bold decision of moving to Battambang, chances could be bigger, especially for those who lose money in business but have been hesitating to close it in Phnom Penh.
As for myself, I don’t have any business base in Battambang and because of that, you might think I’m being irresponsible in writing this column.
But I’d like to make it clear that all of this is because I hope Japanese people and companies in Cambodia succeed and I couldn’t be happier if this column makes any contribution to someone’s success.