The first Eurofair in Cambodia launched this morning at the Koh Pich convention center, starting from June 29 and will end on July 1. Organized by EuroCham Cambodia, the three-day event is aimed to advocate European companies in Cambodia by informing visitors about the long economic history between the two countries as well as create better connections for potential European investments in the kingdom.
Guillaume Maltaverne, the project officer for EuroCham Cambodia, expects to see over 10,000 visitors at the EuroFair. Since the chamber was established in 2011, it has advocated and offered support to EU companies per sectors by addressing concerns and problem solving technical matters and offering services in market research. Maltaverne stated that EuroCham has strived to create a business community with EU companies by holding 40 to 50 events a year, but continuously see the same people. The EuroFair is one way to outreach outside that community, as well as establish Cambodia as a country for a business opportunity to European companies looking to expand in the ASEAN market. Although there are many foreign investments in Cambodia, Maltaverne sees many European companies as being sustainable through its long history of providing economic support, vocational training, and providing quality products.
One of the 40 European businesses highlighted during this three-day event, is Eurasia, a furniture company based in Ho Chi Minh importing over 25 luxury brands from Italy. Sergio Della Giovanna, the design manager of Eurasia Concept, stated that the 4-year-old company was interested in Cambodia after being approached last year. “Cambodia prospectors came to visit us in Ho Chi Minh and we got very good results, very positive,” Giovanna said in the Eurasia showroom at EuroFair. He observed how much of the country was undergoing construction for apartment and condo housing, making Cambodia a potential market for Eurasia’s customized luxurious Italian furniture. “The price depends on the finishes,” Giovanna said. “A sofa can start from nearly $12,000 depending on the size and finishing.”
The marketing, communication and sales team has developed a strategy in creating demand for luxury furniture in Vietnam, Giovanna explained. “Four years ago in Ho Chi Minh, the demand [for Italian furniture] was not so strong, but we created a necessity. It means a customer will buy a bedroom today and when we come out with a new model, they will want to change to that even if they don’t need it.” Giovanna hopes to do the same for Cambodia, depending on the feedback of the showroom today, Cambodia may see more of Eurasia soon.
This is great news for Hak Lina, the director of operations of Topaz Restaurant under Thalias Hospitality. For the past 21 years, she has seen the Cambodian-based company grow from a few tables in a small venue, developed into a reputable corporation with 6 venues in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The latest project for Siem Reap is Khema Angkor, slated to be open in October of this year.
“It’s an opportunity for them [European brands], I’m sure they see the market in developing countries,” Hak said, adding that new brands to Cambodia like BRED Bank, is a welcoming sight. “Thailias is a local brand that is owned by a French man,” Hak stated. “For us, it is like an international French brand, but its created locally. We have a competitive market and should welcome any investors, not just Europeans. It can be any brand, but European brands are known for their quality. People nowadays are looking for quality products in their brand.”
Hak stated that Thalias Hospitality is busy strengthening the brand in Cambodia before looking for opportunities in partnering with other countries such as Singapore, the U.S., or Myanmar within the next five years.
European companies hold a long economic history with Cambodia. Bosch, a German multinational automotive, security, engineering and electronics company has been in Cambodia since 2004, establishing itself in power tools and spare automotive parts since 2010 according to André De Jong, the managing director of Bosch in Cambodia. “Bosch is usually a company when they invest in a country, they are committed to staying because we want to support and develop the country in its emerging market,” De Jong stated.
Sustainable with four division, Bosch has been developing and training staff through vocational training and CSR activities, supporting such places like PSE and Don Bosco. “Next year, we will have been in Southeast Asia for a hundred years, since 1919, when we started in Indonesia,” De Jong said. “It is very strong when European companies have come together, European Union is the number one trading partner for Cambodia, for example, and European companies are known for their quality and sustainability.”
The 3-day event will take place at Koh Pich Exhibition Center (Hall K-L) on Friday, June 29, to July 1, 2018.