In FY2018, Cambodia experienced a 20.1% growth in the number of loans dispersed.
This growth is largely attributable to the increased business activities in the trade, real estate, construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. In particular, the majority of outstanding loans were clustered among the retail and wholesale trade sector (28.2% of all outstanding loans) and the real estate and construction sector (25.9% of all outstanding loans).
Despite the industry’s positive growth, the recent interest rate cap set by the National Bank of Cambodia has caused the average interest rates to drop gradually from 18% to 10.61% per annum. Decreasing interest rates coupled with a highly saturated market (43 commercial banks, 14 specialized banks, 7 MDIs and 74 MFIs) poses significant challenges for investors considering entering the local financial services industry.
However, the growing demand of financial technology and ancillary financial services such as wealth management, bond issuances and management of saving accounts offer interesting market opportunities.
Cambodia’s healthy economic outlook, with a GDP per capita forecast of ~8.5% growth through to 2023, coupled with rising urbanization, has significantly contributed towards the growth of the telecommunications sector.
The Cambodian internet broadband market has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~64%, from a base of 200,000 in 2010 to 12.8 million users in 2018, which is equivalent to a 78% internet penetration rate.
However, this market is primarily dominated by mobile broadband users, with a total of 12.6 million users and a penetration rate greater than 100%. On the other hand, the fixed line broadband market remains under-penetrated (with a penetration rate of only 40%).
With increasing economic and urbanization fundamentals (not only isolated to Phnom Penh but also including hubs such as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville), there is significant potential for growth in telecommunication businesses. Furthermore, market demand will be supported by Cambodian millennials who are consuming more data than ever thanks to social media and streaming platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other over-the-top media services (OTT).
Cambodia has now come of age as a preferred destination for operators and players coming from Southeast Asia and East Asia.
The Kingdom has witnessed an explosion in casino gaming of late – and it shows little sign of subsiding. Despite the fact that it remains illegal for Cambodians to gamble, the country has a booming casino market, attracting gamblers from all across Asia.
As of the second quarter of 2019, the government has issued 136 casino licenses, with 133 casinos already in operation.
While the recent online gaming ban could potentially slow down the development of the industry, the highly anticipated new Gaming Bill is expected to help attract further investment into the country’s booming casino sector. The bill will establish zones where casinos can be located and where they will be banned.
A license for a casino in an integrated resort (IR) will be issued for 20 years, though for standalone properties, the license duration will be 5 years. Junket operators will also be allowed. The industry will be overseen by a new body to be known as the Commercial Gaming Committee of Cambodia.
Cambodia has made giant strides in recent years in producing more electricity domestically and in expanding its grid.
In 2004, the capacity of power sources in Cambodia was 208 MW. By December 2018, its capacity has been recorded as 2,650 MW, a dramatic 12.5-fold increase, at a CAGR of 18.5%. An estimated 83.3% of its capacity is contributed by domestically-generated energy while the remaining 16.7% is imported from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Among domestically-generated energy, 57% is generated by hydropower plants and 40% by coal power plants.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) in March 2019, Cambodia is facing a nationwide power shortage, and will be having nationwide power cuts. This presents significant opportunities for players interested in capitalizing on this market gap in the power and energy industry.