Cambodia’s e-commerce struggles amid potential

Cambodia’s e-commerce struggles amid potential

Wed, 5 December 2012
Cambodia users are not in the habit of doing their shopping online

Cambodia’s e-commerce market is struggling as users are not in the habit of doing their shopping online. Heng Chivoan


It was only in July this year when German-owned internet start-up incubator Rocket Internet launched in Cambodia, an online retail store selling electronics such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Rocket Internet Cambodia co-founder Karl Seilern told the Post in July that the country’s growth in internet usage and the lack of competition in the e-commerce market were driving factors to enter Cambodia.

Seilern said the company planned to offer delivery in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville within the next few months.

But less than two months after its launch, ceased business. Now their former office on Norodom is empty.

Rocket Internet Cambodia is not the only player to have struggled in the local e-commerce market, a type of business that, although having much potential for growth, still needs to establish itself in Cambodia.

“The majority [of e-commerce shops are] actually not really successful,” said Leng Chanprathna, CEO of

Cambodia had more than 2.5 million people with internet access as of last month and the figure is expected to grow, officials at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications told the Post earlier this month.

The number of Facebook users in Cambodia is about 650,000, or about 4 per cent of the population, Leng Chanprathna said.

But according to the 2012 Media Index Survey from Indochina Research, only 7 per cent of internet users have used online shopping. The survey was conducted in five provinces among a sample of 1,103 people aged 15 to 50 in urban and semi-urban locations.

Seventy-four per cent used the internet for browsing, surfing and information, 69 per cent for MP3, video and picture downloads, 66 per cent for Facebook, 56 per cent for messaging and chatting and 45 per cent for games.

“Cambodian internet users are not in the habit of using the internet for online shopping yet,” Laurent Notin, general manager at Indochina Research said, adding that such habits will develop with time as users become more sophisticated.

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