The global economic recovery has spurred both locals and foreign investors alike to start businesses in the Kingdom, officials said yesterday, as the number of company registrations rose more than 48 percent in the first quarter year on year.
Some 813 new businesses registered with the government between January and March, up from 549 in the same period last year, according to Ministry of Commerce figures obtained yesterday.
Between 35 percent and 40 percent were foreign-led, marking a 5-percent jump from the first quarter of 2010, the figures showed. Foreign registrations were mainly from China, with an average of 33 companies a month, followed by South Korea and Vietnam’s 30 a month, Malaysia’s 16 and Thailand’s 12.
Most of those companies operate in agro-business and agriculture, tourism, information technology and mining, Commerce Ministry officials said.
“The global financial downturn only slightly impacted our economy. But we’ve improved significantly since the recovery started. That’s why we can attract more and more new local and foreign businessmen,” said Hum Hean, Director of the Commerce Ministry’s business registration department.
“Also, the government has a clear policy to bring investors to the country. And even though there are issues with Thailand, the business climate here is still good,” he added.
Hum Hean did note that most likely numbers for the second quarter will not rise more than in the first quarter, because a portion of the registrations counted at the beginning of the year were left over from the fourth quarter.
Nguon Meng Tech, Director General of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, also stressed the importance of the Kingdom’s investor-friendly policies in attracting startups.
“Our investment atmosphere is much better than many other countries in the region,” he said.
“We offer businesses a chance at a free flow of profits by imposing just a 20-percent cooperate tax, as well as a years-long tax holiday while other countries don’t.”
“This makes them very interested to invest in our country,” he said.
According to Nguon Meng Tech, Cambodia’s border clashes with Thailand have not stopped Thai businessmen from entering the country.
In 2010, the number of new registrations rose by 28 percent to 2,572 from 2,003 in 2009.
Some commentators have pointed to other signs of growing momentum for the Kingdom's economy.
Last month, the Asian Development Outlook predicted Cambodia’s gross domestic product would jump 6.5 percent this year, from its previous prediction for 2011 of 6 percent growth.