Maybank capitalises on growing interest in Cambodia among Singapore investors

21 April 2017


"Invest Cambodia" forum held in Singapore for potential corporate and individual investors

Maybank Singapore organised the inaugural ‘Invest Cambodia' forum this morning, with the theme of ‘Doing business in Cambodia'. This is the first Cambodia-related trade and investment forum that Maybank has held in Singapore. Invited participants include SMEs and MNCs that are looking to set up business in the country, as well as high net worth individuals who are keen to invest in properties there. 

In the half-day event, attendees gained a better understanding of the economic outlook and challenges of Cambodia, the range of financial facilities available and the legal aspects of setting up a business in the country. There was also lively discussion during the panel and Q&A sessions about the operating challenges and the current opportunities available for Singapore businesses.

Cambodia - an attractive emerging market in the region   

Cambodia's annual GDP has been and is projected to continue growing at around seven per cent annually, and the country is also benefiting from a low inflation rate. Other key factors attracting overseas investors include relatively low labour costs, a dynamic workforce and a favourable investment climate1.

In 2016, in terms of key sectors that banking institutions in Cambodia had been providing loans to: 21.5% were in real estate (including 8.7% in construction, 5.0% in real estate activities), 17.4% were in retail trade and 14.2% were in wholesale trade2.

Similarly, for Maybank Cambodia, which has been operating in the country since 1993, the top five segments in its loan portfolio are import/export businesses, retail trade, purchase of residential property, education services and property construction.

As a foreign bank with an international and especially strong regional presence, Maybank has the advantage of leveraging on our cross-border presence. For example if the customer already has a banking relationship with Maybank in Singapore, the Singapore office can perform KYC on the customer before we start a banking relationship with him in Cambodia. If the customer is based primarily in Singapore and has a branch business in Cambodia, we can also perform the account opening here at his convenience.

Growing volume of Singapore remittances denotes rising investor interest

Overseas businesses that invest in Cambodia can better manage their cash flow via Maybank's regional cash management system, if the overseas parent company (e.g. in Singapore or Malaysia) manages the subsidiary account in Cambodia. In addition, individuals and companies can remit major foreign currencies to their home countries speedily.

For example, remittance to and from Maybank accounts in top investing countries3 such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia is within two hours for destination countries' currencies, and is within the same day for other banks.

"Cambodia is heavily reliant on imports and exports. Currently, remittance to and from Singapore makes up more than 30% of Maybank Cambodia's total portfolio and it is the top cross-border country for our remittance volume," said Ms Cynthia Liaw, CEO of Maybank Cambodia. In fact, Singapore was Cambodia's third-largest foreign investor in 2015, with about US$100 million in approved investments.

Ms Liaw added, "Over the years, we have built up our reputation as the preferred bank for many Singapore companies, as well as local companies doing business with Singapore companies. We have seen solid business growth year-on-year; in 2016 our total loans volume grew by 17 per cent and our customer base increased by 12 per cent."

Maybank has been operating in Cambodia since 1993 and provides a broad range of banking services to retail and corporate clients. It underwent local incorporation five years ago and currently has 21 branches in the country.

1 based on the KPMG Investing in Cambodia report, published in June 2016,  https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/kh/pdf/publication/2016/kh-2016-june-investing-in-cambodia.pdf
2 according to the 2016 Annual Report by the National Bank of Cambodia
3 according to http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/investment-enviroment/investment-trend.html

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