Cambodia earned nearly $1 billion from the export of bicycles last year, as reported by the commerce ministry, as observers point to opportunities created by non-garment manufacturing industries to secure a greater influx of investments over the coming years.
According to the latest data from Ministry of Commerce, sourced from the General Department of Custom and Excise (GDCE) and received by The Post on February 2, total Cambodian bicycle exports came to $966,759,763.43 in 2022, marking a sharp increase of 48.48 per cent over the $651,113,453.86 logged in 2021.
This represents 93.85 per cent of the $1.030 billion in exports under the “vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof” category, which corresponds to Chapter 87 of the Harmonised System of Tariff Nomenclature, according to the GDCE. In 2021, bicycles accounted for 94.37 per cent of the $689.977 million in Chapter 87 exports.
No figures were immediately available for the number of bicycles exported.
Ministry spokesman Penn Sovicheat told The Post that bicycle exports have been on a steady upward trajectory year after year, on the back of high demand from the UK and other European markets, the US, Canada, Japan and China. He confirmed that the official list of export destinations for Cambodian bicycles encompasses more than 50 countries and territories.
“There is high demand now, so bicycles have become one of the main exports, alongside garments, footwear and travel goods.
“I foresee that we’ll attract more investment in bicycle manufacturing, with demand maintaining its growth, as we are the top player in ASEAN when it comes to bicycle exports,” he said.
Speaking to The Post on February 2, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng highlighted the correlation between the rise in Cambodian bicycle exports and a shift among Europeans and other Westerners to the two-wheelers and away from cars and public transport, often for health reasons or to take part in traffic alleviation and carbon neutrality efforts.
“[Bicycles] are becoming more and more important products for our country, not too far behind garments, textiles and footwear,” he said. “We are the main exporter to the European market as well as the region, we indeed recognise the sector’s high potential to attract more investment.”
There are five bicycle factories in Cambodia, all located in special economic zones (SEZ) of Svay Rieng province. According to Fresh News, these are: A and J (Cambodia) Co Ltd; Speedtech Industrial Co Ltd; Smart Tech (Cambodia) Co Ltd; XDS Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd; and Evergrand Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd.
Generally seen as a type of commercial oasis, an SEZ is a specially-defined region within a jurisdiction’s borders that is subject to different – typically more liberal – legal, administrative and economic regulations than elsewhere in the same jurisdiction, and can include unique tax, logistical or one-stop service arrangements designed to attract business and investment.