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  • As small, open economy, Cambodia has enjoyed robust growth in recent years, benefiting from a stable macroeconomic environment, efficiency improvements, a strategic location in the world’s fastest-growing region and a young population. With continued impressive growth, the outlook is positive and medium-term prospects are favorable (International Monetary Fund, 2017)
  • 12 percent of GDP (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2014)
    4.5 million tourists (Ministry of Tourism, 2014)
    $3.2 billion in international tourism receipts (World Bank, 2014)
  • 9 percent of GDP (Council for the Development of Cambodia, 2015)
    2,636 projects worth $8.5 billion approved (Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, 2016)
    Construction and real-estate sector growth fueled by significant foreign direct investment and other capital inflows (International Monetary Fund, 2017)
  • Stable with real GDP growth projected to remain robust at around 7 percent over the next few years before moderating to 6 percent in the medium term, strong domestic fundamentals supporting investment such as annual average inflation of 1-4 percent in recent years, a stable exchange rate and rising international reserves (International Monetary Fund, 2017)
  • $5.7 billion in garment exports (International Labour Organization, 2015)
    700,000 workers in 1,200 garment businesses
    Manufacturing exports seen benefiting from extended preferential US trade
    access and product diversification (International Monetary Fund, 2017)
  • 30 percent of GDP, half total employment (International Monetary Fund, 2017)
    Rice production is increasing steadily, making Cambodia important exporter. Other important food crops are corn, soybean, mung bean, cassava, mango, pineapple, jackfruit, durian, rambutan and banana.
    Production of sugarcane, rubber and palm oil is expanding significantly. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2017)
Why Cambodia?

Cambodia has a rich trading history that goes back centuries. After independence in 1953, however, markets were sometimes distorted or even abolished. Yet within 18 months of liberation from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, free markets were being restored, leading to official recognition of the private sector as one of the key pillars of the economy in 1985. Under a new constitution adopted in 1993, the Royal Government of Cambodia has embraced free-market policies, which now provide enormous business opportunities. From 2000 to 2015, Cambodia sustained high GDP growth at an average annual rate of around 8 percent. Growth has continued at an impressive pace and medium-term prospects are favorable. The strong pace of economic expansion is partly fueled by Cambodia’s location between two larger and more developed economies – Thailand and Vietnam – which create economic spillovers. Moreover, the country is situated midway between China and India, the world’s leading growth drivers for the 21st century. 

In terms of infrastructure, all key roads and bridges have been upgraded to connect to neighboring countries (Laos, Thailand and Vietnam). The country’s railway is being rehabilitated, with the first phase already completed between Phnom Penh and the deep-water port at Sihanoukville on the Gulf of Thailand. The port is being modernized and expanded to increase capacity. Separate port facilities on the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh have been enlarged and a new container terminal on the Mekong River started operating downstream from Phnom Penh in 2013, offering better access to Vietnam’s new deep-sea ports. Cambodia also has three international airports, which are being upgraded, enlarged, and modernized. 

Membership of the WTO and ASEAN offers significant benefits in terms of regional and global trade and investment. Duty-free and preferential export access to the EU and US are also positive factors for investing in Cambodia. Future opportunities include Cambodia’s membership of the emerging Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN and the neighboring regional economies of Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. 

Cambodia’s population was about 15.2 million in 2014, of which 65 percent were under the age of 30. Literacy was estimated at 80 percent in 2013. The young population provides one of the lowest-cost workforces in Asia. With increased incomes and purchasing power – along with dramatic gains in poverty reduction – lifestyles are changing rapidly, especially in urban areas. People are now more likely to pay more for better quality goods and services thanks to growing consumerism and greater expectations. 

While the economy has been highly dollarized since the early 1990s – with near-full financial dollarization – the International Monetary Fund has welcomed recent efforts to promote greater use of the local currency, the riel. Foreign investors exposed to the riel enjoy minimal foreign exchange risks under a closely managed exchange arrangement pursued by the National Bank of Cambodia, the central bank. 

With its political stability, strong economic growth, advantageous geography, well-established infrastructure and solid legal framework, Cambodia has adopted various approaches to encourage investment. These include 100 percent foreign ownership, 99-year land leases, attractive investment incentives and Qualified Investment Projects. Repatriation of profits is easy. Cambodia offers unlimited opportunities from the health care, leisure, construction and energy sectors to huge untapped natural resources and agro-industry businesses.

Company Profile

Alpha International Corporation Ltd was founded as an investment-consulting firm in Phnom Penh in April, 2004. Established by Cambodian-born Japanese citizen Chou Darareth (Masako Asakura), the company later started a trading business and launched resort-management services in 2009. It has also been managing and leasing office buildings since 2011. With more than 50 full-time employees, the company can handle any project through its extensive knowledge of Cambodia and a wide-ranging network spanning both the public and private sectors. With local expertise and international talent, the company can operate in Japanese, English, French, Khmer, Vietnamese, Thai, Mandarin and Korean. 

The company has been involved in more than 100 projects in sectors such as agriculture, food & beverage, education, hospitals, hotels & resorts, garment & electronics manufacturing, real estate, trading & retail including malls, electricity, oil & mining. By 2017, Alpha had been involved in projects worth more than $1 billion

About the President

Cambodian-born Japanese citizen Chou Darareth (Masako Asakura) lived and worked in Japan for more than 18 years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) from Surugadai University in Saitama Prefecture in 1992 and pursued her interest in English language and literature at San Francisco State University for another year. 

Since returning to Cambodia in 1993, Ms Darareth has held various positions from coordinator to advisor. She worked for various high-profile cooperation projects between the Cambodian and Japanese governments under a recovery program following UN-sponsored elections in 1993. Many of the achievements of these projects still stand today and remain crucial for the infrastructure and economic development of Cambodia. 

Ms Darareth is highly experienced in coordinating logistics and managing high-level international meetings. Since establishing Alpha International Corporation Ltd in 2004, she has continued to be involved at the highest level in the cooperation program between the governments of Cambodia and Japan. She has also been a chartered member of the Phnom Penh Central Lions Club since 2001 and twice served as president of the club in 2004 and 2005. She is married and lives with her husband and three children in Phnom Penh. She speaks Japanese, English and Khmer.