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Cambodia: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Cambodia

Most senior staff in large and international companies will speak English but it is not common in smaller companies. It is essential to make appointments for business meetings and to exchange business cards. Cambodian hosts are quite likely to present their guests with gifts, so visitors should take along a gift typical to their own country of origin in order to reciprocate.

Cambodian businesspeople are generally quite formal so protracted niceties are inevitable before getting down to business.

Cambodian businesspeople are gradually becoming more formal in their dress, as contact with international business increases. However, because of the extreme heat, it is quite acceptable, and practical, to dispense with the wearing of a suit jacket.

Offices tend to open early between 0730 and 0800 and close around 1700 or 1800 with a long lunch break between 1130 and 1400, a legacy from the French. Many offices are also open on Saturdays but always check to see if this is the case.

Office Hours

Offices tend to open early between 0730 and 0800 and close around 1700 or 1800 with a long lunch break between 1130 and 1400, a legacy from the French. Many offices are also open on Saturdays but always check to see if this is the case.


The Cambodian economy was all but destroyed by the war in southeast Asia and the rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. Since the ousting of the Khmer Rouge from power by the Vietnamese in 1979, Cambodia has undergone a slow process of recovery. Restoration of agriculture (the foundation of the Cambodian economy and the main source of employment) has been slow but steady with rice as the staple. The timber industry has also grown quickly but at the expense of worrying deforestation.

The effects of the 1997 currency crisis on the economy were transitory, given the relatively undeveloped state of the Cambodian economy. Cambodia aspires to the status of an Asian 'tiger' economy and has joined the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), now the principal regional economic co-operation body.

GDP growth stood at 6.7% in a 2011 estimate, with inflation running at 5.5%.


US$12.9 billion (2011).

Main exports

Timber, footwear, fish, rubber, tobacco and clothing.

Main imports

Petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials and machinery.

Main trading partners

Thailand, China, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea.

Keeping in Touch in Cambodia


Prepaid telephone cards are available in post offices, hotels and shops for public phones around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in major towns and cities and patchy elsewhere.


Available in most areas. Internet cafes are available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and all other major towns.


Much of Cambodia's media depends on support from political parties. Press freedom is not guaranteed, but Prime Minister Hun Sen has declared his public support for press freedom. There are no restrictions on satellite dish ownership, and neighbouring foreign radio broadcasts are easily received.

Newspapers The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post (fortnightly) and are printed in English. National Television Kampuchea (TVK) is a state broadcaster, while Aspara TV and TV3 are commercial stations, and CTN, CTV9, Bayon TV and TV5 are private broadcasters. National Radio Kampuchea (RNK) is a state broadcaster; FM 95 (operated by Bayon Radio and TV News Agency), Radio FM 97 (operated by Aspara Radio and TV Radio) and Radio FM 103 are all commercial broadcasters. There are 11 TV stations nationwide, and 18 radio stations including French, Thai and Vietnamese broadcasts.


Airmail to Europe takes at least a week, and longer to the USA. The main post office in Phnom Penh is located on the western side of 13 Street between 98 Street and 102 Street, open 0630-2100.

Post Office hours

Generally Mon-Fri 0730/0800-1700/1730, sometimes closed for lunch.

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