Cambodia’s Digital (R)evolution

Article by

Luka D’Amato

Cambodia is experiencing a digital revolution that is shaping the country’s future, and as digital literacy grows, so is the desire for digital solutions.

Growing demand coupled with government initiatives to reach a digital economy is pushing companies to evolve from traditional business models to ones utilizing digital technologies. However, despite expanding internet and smartphone penetration, less than a quarter of local businesses in Cambodia had an internet presence in 2017, according to a World Bank Report.

A Codingate employee reviews an app for mobile devices. Smart phones are the primary devices used in Cambodia to consume digital media and content.

“Shifting to digitalization is necessary to stay competitive today. Businesses that make the transition are seeing increasing revenues, improved sales cycles, better customer engagement and achieving greater operational efficiency,” said Mr. Pagna Leng, a Senior Business Analyst at Codingate.

Internationally, e-commerce and digital management platforms have been a norm for some time. However, Cambodia’s historically low access to digital technology and limited availability of existing platforms in Khmer language has restricted local companies and consumers alike. This barrier has left many confined to using social media platforms like Facebook and rudimentary websites to buy and sell goods and services online.

Yet, with the entry and success of ride hailing, food delivery and mobile payment apps and banking services, Cambodia is experiencing the potential for growth in utilizing digital systems.

Two Codingate programmers review code.

Pioneering, local information technology companies like Codingate are helping drive the country forward by allowing local businesses to move into the digital space. From e-commerce platforms to customer relationship management (CRM) and human resource (HRM) systems, Cambodian companies are gaining access to solutions that are tailored for the local market and their customers. In turn, this is allowing for the growth of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the country and pushing them to meet local demand and stay competitive.

“We strive to empower the emergent digital generation in Cambodia to make change easier to understand and, even more importantly, accessible. In turn, this improves the economic environment and society. We are also taking an important role in establishing a digital foundation for businesses, particularly SMEs, in Cambodia by giving them the opportunity to transform from traditional to digital business models,” said Mr. Pagna.

Everyday Cambodia steps closer to a digital economy, but what will it take to get there?

Despite incredible accomplishments over the last few years, Cambodia still has important steps to make in order to reach a digital economy that will empower both businesses and consumers. Improving digital skill sets and reducing the cost of going digital are some of the ways Cambodia can gain ground.

To improve digital know-how and create opportunity for a new generation of Cambodians, local and international organizations are creating valuable initiatives, including training programs, conferences and startup competitions. Programs like Coding Cats, She Loves Tech Cambodia, BarCamp, Technovation Cambodia and more have created training opportunities, mentorship and incentives for passionate youth who want to join and lead Cambodia’s digital revolution.

A Tiny Coding Cats instructor introduces a young boy to coding. Photo Credit: Kakrona Chan

Capacity development efforts like these have also been met by private companies, such as KOOMPI, Cambodia’s first laptop brand, who is setting up wifi infrastructure at partner schools, providing technical training to teachers and donating their computers to help schools establish modern computer labs. Efforts like these focus on improving early access to digital technologies.

Key government initiatives encouraging digital growth, non-profit initiatives improving skill sets, and companies like Codingate, who understand what the local market needs to adopt digital business models, are all helping Cambodia gain ground. As demand grows, infrastructure and digital literacy grow with it and Cambodia continues to close the gap on achieving a digital economy.

Codingate is an ISI GROUP member company. As part of their DNA, they innovate and develop technologies with social impact and support a sustainable society. Click here to learn more about how they support business growth and reduce costs.