via CAAI News Media
By May Wong
Posted: 04 June 2010
SINGAPORE: The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises or (ASME) will open a business centre in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to increase tie-ups between companies.
The centre, supported by SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore, is scheduled to be opened early next year.
This is the first-ever overseas centre by a Singapore business association.
Collaborating to develop Cambodia's infrastructure or providing education services in Phnom Penh are some of the sectors that Singapore SMEs can venture into.
Bryan The, CEO, Association of Small & Medium Enterprises, said: "Singapore businesses tend to lag behind some of the other competing countries in the region like Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong for example.
“And that often when business opportunities crop up, the other countries tend to snap them up faster than Singapore. So we hope that by being physically there, it could help hasten the process and also raise awareness of such opportunities to Singapore businesses.
“We think that in the next five years, Cambodia would be the next big thing, possibly even as big as Vietnam and being relatively untapped. This is the right time to be in Cambodia right now.”
ASME's business centre comes on the back of the government's recent call for Singapore companies to internationalise.
The centre will also look for opportunities in countries like Laos and Myanmar.
ASME has decided to set up a business centre in Cambodia because currently, there is no Singapore representative or assistance there.
The association believes that Cambodia has potential market opportunities worth over US$200 million. One of the key responsibilities of the centre will be to match-make Cambodia and Singapore companies for business cooperation.
And understanding consumer needs in emerging regional markets is key when expanding overseas.
Arnaud Frade, regional director, Retail and Shopper, TNS, said: "Getting to know your consumers and not making assumptions. What is working here in Singapore may not be working in China.
“If they go into this market without the real knowledge, they'd very likely waste a lot of resources, distract their management and ultimately, again risk losing share at home because all their resources have been diverted."
To better familiarise Singapore SMEs with the demands overseas, ASME will double its trade missions to over 20 this year to countries like China, Vietnam and even Uzbekistan. - CNA/vm