Cambodia is a country that had a difficult time in the 20th century, but in the 21st, they have nowhere to go but up. It is a country with a lot of room for growth. And with exemplary leadership, a company can get established and positioned for a great future. But Cambodia has its way of doing things, and without good knowledge of the customs and quirks of the system, foreigners will find doing business there frustrating. Even though Cambodia allows 100 percent foreign-owned businesses, many people have tried and failed to make a way in this ancient kingdom. Here are a few things to know about Cambodia and doing business there.
There is No Substitute for Local Knowledge:
The best thing you can have, besides capital, is an arrangement with a local agency that can help steer you through the intricacies of Cambodian bureaucracy and registering a business in Cambodia. It is a land of written and unwritten rules, and the unwritten ones come into play more often. Especially for a business starting out. It is also a place where allies might quickly turn against you when the opportunities change. Suppose you are serious about making a significant investment. In that case, your first step should be to retain the services of an international agency to help you through some of the foundational steps. It isn’t going to be a quick process; it will probably take about three months. But you can use that time to learn the lay of the land.
One of the unwritten rules is that if you want things to happen faster or go your way, you will likely have to pay for that result. The problem with this is that it is also illegal. And even if local officials are happy to look the other way, chances are your government will frown on this, and some countries even prosecute bribery from their citizens doing business abroad. Another problem is that once you compromise and make a payment, you not only set a standard about how you do business, but you also set yourself up for blackmail later. If it seems that you are between a rock and a hard place on this issue, the best thing you can do is get local people to work it out for you. There is always a way to finesse a situation so that you can indirectly pay for progress without insulting anyone or breaking any laws.
You will have to live in Cambodia for a very long time to understand all the subtleties of the culture. But one thing you need to understand right away is the concept of face. It is imperative never to embarrass or openly criticize people, even your employees. Always give everyone respect and in case of a problem, blame the situation, not the person.
Cambodia is a beautiful country, and the people are genuinely friendly and receptive to foreigners. You will find a lot to love about the place, but it is not a place to let your guard down or to treat with disrespect. Find yourself some qualified agencies to work with, and when you find people you can trust and work with, pay and treat them well.