Locally-owned Saisons Brother Holding Co is expected to bring E-Mart24, a major South Korean convenience store (CVS) chain, to Cambodia next year, in light of the growth potential for Korean products and investments here.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) by E-Mart24 Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of E-Mart Inc, was signed with Hanlim Architecture Group Co and Saisons on August 24 to establish a joint venture company - E-Mart24 Cambodia.
Ngorn David Sambo, director of Saisons, who operates a diverse business portfolio ranging from food and beverage to tech, told The Post on August 27 that the first E-Mart24 outlet would be introduced in the first half of next year, with up to 10 outlets planned for Phnom Penh by the end of 2024.
“Following that, we are looking to expand to other provinces. You can see that Korean products are very popular among Cambodians, especially cosmetic products. We will ensure that prices are affordable for our people,” Ngorn said.
According to South Korea-based Korean Economy Daily, which highlighted the news, E-Mart Inc is eyeing the Cambodian market as the “struggling hypermarket giant aims to seek growth opportunities in overseas markets, especially Southeast Asia”.
The publication wrote that E-Mart – South Korea’s fourth largest convenience store operator – is looking at gradually increasing the number of Cambodian stores to 100 in five years depending on the market conditions.
“We will make efforts to successfully settle the business in Cambodia while considering making inroads into other countries,” a Seoul-based E-Mart24 official was quoted as saying.
In June, Thai conglomerate CP Group’s Bangkok-listed subsidiary CP All Plc revealed plans to raise the number of 7-Eleven branches in Cambodia to 100 by the end of this year from 60, as of April 30, 2023. The group is hoping to capitalise on the Kingdom’s rapid economic growth as well as strong trade between the two ASEAN neighbours, an article by Bangkok-based The Nation stated.
It wrote that CP All entered the Cambodian market via its subsidiary CP All (Cambodia) in August 2021, opening its first branch in Phnom Penh and reaching 40 outlets by the end of 2022.
In the first half of 2023, exports to South Korea grew 28.2 per cent year-on-year to $142.7 million from $111.4 million, data by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) showed, with a record of $29 million shipped in June alone this year, making up 20.3 per cent of the total for the period.
Bilateral trade volume amounted to $376.5 million in the first half, down 10.7 per cent from $421.3 million last year, but up 5.3 per cent from $357.59 million in the second half of 2022.
Cambodia imported $233.7 million worth of products from South Korea, down 24.6 per cent from $310 million a year ago.