Your best business development ideas in Cambodia

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Cambodia is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Cambodia? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

Well, I am retired in Cambodia so have ZERO interest in being involved in any business. My partner is a tailor and that has a lot of headaches for VERY little money.

To be honest, and I hate to say this because it might cause some to think I'd like to destroy the "quaintness" of this wonderful country.  I believe that the first person to open a MacDonalds Franchise OR a Dunkin' Donuts (or Crispy Creme) Franchise in Cambodia (preferably in Phnom Penh) will experience GREAT financial success.  Why aren't any of these franchises found here?  My guess is that the government official who would O.K. such an endeavor is demanding way too much of a kickback to make it worthwhile for an entrepreneur to invest the necessary 2 million bucks (in MacDs case).  I live in Siem Reap and what would pass as Fast Food is generally pathetic!  There is actually a KFC here and the one time I ate their food it was awful.........the KFC in Dhaka, Bangladesh is WONDERFUL, so it can be done right in a 3rd World country.  Regarding donuts, I haven't found a good donut in Siem Reap.  NOT ONE!  Okay.  Okay.  I know donuts are poison..........but.  I'd say I like DD just for their good coffee, but I'd be lying.

As far as business ventures that might do well in the future, maybe solar energy products might do well in our climate.  Even during the monsoon there seems to be a lot of sunshine during the day.  I don't know much about it in terms of financial investment.

I lived in Siem Reap for 3 years. I can't stand to see McDonalds, KFC or any other American fast food junk food company come to this country. Keep all that crap in USA . They know for a fact that it's causing obesity and other health problems. In Cambodia there is only fresh and natural food ,it's one reason why I'm here. Just look at the size the Americans and other foreign people are compaired to most people in all Asian countries.
Eat fresh, eat natural, eat healthy and you won't have any problems.
You don't need doughnuts , there's plenty of other things to eat.

Enough said.


It's far to risky to invest in anything as a foreigner. For one thing, they have no idea how to price real estate, housing or businesses. They throw out these huge numbers ( prices ) and hope someone bites.
I've know owners who after the contract, double or triple the original rent . They even do this to their own people. Some landlords refuse to fix anything like major leaking roofs ,flood waters coming into the store front, they won't fix the sidewalk. It's as if they are constantly taking advantage of the renter and hoping he fails so he can sell the lease to someone else for even a higher price. I know so many people,foreigners and Khmers that have been thru this.
You know, they would be better off in the long run just trying to be friends with their new renters but they don't look at it that way. It's all about money for the Khmer owner. So sad. They don't want to be friendly and helpful, they just want your money.

Hello, As long as it's tourism related you have a good chance to succeed here since we have the UNESCO World Heritage site.

I was talking about foreigners opening and running guest houses, bars and restaurants. I even knew a French lady who lost her 13 hectares of sugar cane plantation when the government decided to relocate 1,000 Khmer families onto her plantation. They burned it to the ground.

I myself intend to establish a "specialty sport recreation" business, geared toward tourists. I'm not saying that I believe my particular endeavor will net THE most profits. It's simply the business I am interested in operating. As far as I know, there are no others in PP...yet.

Deposit a minimum a $10,000 into my account and we can start talking.

Deposit  $ 20,000 in my account and we'll talk all day

$10,000 eh? Do u think I'm some kinda idiot? $5,000 is as high as I'll go without really knowing u!

Hi Investors,

I would suggest investing in hospital treatment business. Given that there is low quality of hospital treatment in Cambodia. People seek treatment in Thailand, Vietnam, or Singapore. If there professional and high quality facility in Cambodia, I believe the business will have a high rate of success.


If you are interested in a business opportunity in Cambodia or anywhere, here is my 2 cents:-)

1) If you are an expert or have enough experience in an area/industry/business, then you can just evaluate the market of your expertise yourself.  For those people, if they have found a market, they have started the business already:-)  Most of time there isn't a market for your expertise or you don't have the capital for that market.  For example, you are a teacher and don't have enough $ to open a school.

2) Assuming you have enough money to start something but don't know what to do, my suggestion is to find an experienced person in the market that you are interested.  Ask this potential partner to help you evaluate the market and the business.  If there is a market, ask this personal to be your partner, assuming this is a competent person with whom you can get along. This will increase the chance of your success a lot:-)

I am still trying to find out the general depth of the river waters around PP. My business idea depends upon that.

Silang Vong :

Hi Investors,

I would suggest investing in hospital treatment business. Given that there is low quality of hospital treatment in Cambodia. People seek treatment in Thailand, Vietnam, or Singapore.

The problem with that is you need to get qualified staff who are willing to work in Cambodia for a fraction of the wages they could earn in most Western countries.

Most Khmer people couldn't afford to pay the required costs for qualified and caring professionals.  And, I can only guess that any organisation that is making money would be expected to pay baksheesh to multiple local officials.

Why do people from Cambodia go to Thailand, Vietname and Singapore?  Firstly, there is a lot less corruption and paybacks and secondly, the level of medical care is much higher.

If you want a hotel or guest house, you have to own the property, otherwise you'll get screwed over the cost of rentals. 

I believe that there are no ideal development opportunities in Cambodia given the level of corruption and endemic poverty.  Stop the rot (corruption) and that should have a trickle through effect of improving the lifestyle of people in the country.

HI again,

I posted to this topic before (late October) and I have been thinking more about the subject.

I have a question that someone might be able to help me with.  We have been considering finding an OnLine Business to work at here in Cambodia to supplement our income, but aren't quite sure if that is possible OR how it might work.  I know there are some legitimate online businesses in the U.S.A. (also MANY scams), but if we signed up for one of those, how would we get paid when there is essentially no mail service here in Cambodia?  We are not looking to "get rich quick."  We would be happy with an annual income from the online business of around $25,000 [US].

I have a related question.  If we decided to do what I'll call, Market Trading, can anyone suggest a REPUTABLE trading firm we might be able to use here in Cambodia?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Alex C.

If the online business you want to do can be done in US already and earn the money that you want, just do it in US.  It is ONLINE, so it doesn't matter where you are at:-)  You can transfer the income to your bank account in Cambodia:-)

I have been doing "online business" for US market for 10 years.  I was in another country and now I am in Cambodia.  But my "business" has never moved; I am the one who has moved physically.  It is a website and most of the customers are from US.  It doesn't matter where I WORK:-)

Anyone know anything about sending large parcels from Cambodia?

I make motorbike fairings,  barely staying alive in Australia due to high costs.

Previously people have said the post is expensive and unreliable,  has this improved?   

Could I take parcels to Thailand and send from there?


I can't comment on the Post in all of Cambodia but here in Siem Reap, regular Post is TERRIBLE!!!  I have actually watched one postal employee take purchased stamps off of postcards tourists were sending and tossing the cards into the trash on TWO occasions.  The ONLY reliable way to send things through the Post is by "Express Mail" which STARTS at $35.00 [US] for a page-sized (i.e. 9X11) light cardboard envelope that takes 3 weeks to get to destinations in the USA.  I have used it twice for important documents and they WERE received.  To me the ONLY safe way to send anything of value to/from Cambodia is by DHL which is VERY expensive to/from the USA.........don't know about Australia.

Hope that helps.

Thanks,  that pretty much nails that plan,    anyone know anything about walking boxes across the border to Thailand?

Hahaha! Wait, were u serious?

I have saved more than five digits here in Taiwan and I noticed that Taiwan has a strict taste when it comes to food, so Hawaiian food wouLd not work in this market. I do not know if Khmer peopLe Like sweet food, but I know Europeans Love it because I used to cook for Europeans in many countries.

Then, I met a guy through Couchsurfing, in PP, who has a smaLL cart and he couLd not decide on what to seLL. I thought if I were to cook Hawaiian food: Chicken, rice, and macaroni pLate Lunches, for exampLe, how much a LocaL pay in PP. I have Learned that they typicaLLy wouLd pay 2-4$ for my dish which is not so bad.
However, I see that restaurants are everywhere and it might be a better idea to immerse myseLf more to understand what peopLe want. Even this guy on Couchsurfing does not know what his native peopLe want; hence, he does not know what to seLL.  :o

If anyone is serious, and has a great / GENEROUS business pLan, I might be your AngeL investor  :top:  10,000$ might be the most I wouLd invest if the pLan is detaiLed, LogicaL, etc. I have not arrived yet in PP, but in December I wiLL. I am excited to see what peopLe reaLLy need in Cambodia.

I'm into investing in hotels & casinos in Cambodia. Anyone keen can link up here. Tks!

Hi, I am Anthony. I too am relocating to PP around January or February. I intend to start a very unique business once there. If you would like to discuss an investment opportunity, you may email me at PhenomNPhnom[at] or better yet, message me on Facebook and send me a friend request. Looking forward to hearing from you.

oh Gosh, be thankful you don't have Restaurant Brands taking over vast regions, last thing Asia needs is a pack of corporate hyenas teaching them how to cut down all their resources to farm cattle for profit that only benefits the very few at the top, whilst filling hospitals and medical cinics full of unhealthy unwitting patients. Employing thousands of locals on minimum wage (based on the western model where most of those adult workers are forced to collect welfare) is not an improvement. Especially with everything they give up in exchange.


Electronics,  electric vehicles are the way forward in Cambodia I think..

Man come on ! Keep those American fast food junk food crap out of Cambodia. Nothing but garbage food that causes more health problems not only for Americans but anyone who eats too much of it. It's crap. It's been tested and proven. Eat healthy, not chemicals and preservatives . There's plenty of fresh natural fruits and vegetables here eat. You don't need to bring the western food culture into this country. Look at the obesity issues the US is having and with diabetes. MacDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC......horrible horrible food. Keep it out.

yes, really I agree with you Stanwest... hey guys, please try to give some organic or natural or some countries traditional foods. that could be more healthier to make convenient to live in this country and this is more helpful to Cambodia too.


Thank you sir,,,,,, I was a volunteer for over 2 years in a village teaching students how to grow many different kinds of vegetables and fruit trees from seed for their sustainable breakfast program. All organic, NO chemicals.      Eating healthy is the best choice.

Don't ever think or worry what the Cambodian people will like. Everyone has different taste buds. Just get out there , cook and see what sells. See what they like. There are also so many foreigners here from all over the world who would give it a try. The Cambodians have never tried macaroni so introduce it to them. If they like it they like it. They love fried banan but never tried drizzling chocolate over it until I introduced it to them. They loved it and asked for more. Just get out there and experiment with them as well as your food. I love to see the expressions on their faces. Most of them will enjoy, trust me.

Hi, I have a plan, but investment is very huge. If any person have intention, let me know.

Doing business in Cambodia can be very risky as a foreigner in Cambodia. On the other hand it can be very rewarding. Cambodia is a growing country and with growth there is opportunity. The real estate market is a key factor in the growth of Cambodia. Its here. If you do not believe just look out into Phnom Penh there are projects going up left in right with giant Chinese banners on them. The Chinese are smart and know where to put their money. Its not coincidence more and more of them flock here each year. Also agriculture. Everybody has to eat. And some of the top exports of this country are food related products.

I see too many foreigners coming here, opening up a bar and watching it fail after a couple years. Theres to many. If you are here in Cambodia and truly looking for $$$$. Go for this ?/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I am in the skin aesthetics business, using stem cells and PRP to enhance skin and also prp face lifts and over all  skin re-newel. All of our procedures are new in the market. I am very interested to open a clinic in Phnom Pehn to bring these new cutting edge style treatments to Cambodia. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.The target clientele would be general, expat, tourist, and local Khmer. Our costs per treatments would be very affordable in comparison with say Thailand. the treatments are aimed at both men and women, for needy cases such as chronic acne or facial scars, we may provide a free service on compassionate grounds, The procedures performed are not laser, for I understand a clinic is already in Phnom Phen for laser treatments. We use  Prp plasma with derma-needling to complete a skin re-newel process and a youthful appearance  to facial and body skin plus a tightening of the areas of needling. Any genuine feedback, suggestions, opinions, or ideas would be most helpful and I look forward to any of those.

please,i m interested in the online business...could you link me up?

For Cambodia..?

I would say something along the lines of producing additional energy. For a developing country like Cambodia they rely 60% of their energy from neighboring countries. The Ministry of energy released a statement saying they would buy all private additional energy to support the ever growing population and infrastructure.

Now if you just spend maybe 1 or 2 hours researching solar energy, you will understand that its profitable and scalable. You get back what you invest within a years time thats if the Ministry of Energy wasn't B.S about buying all outsourced energy. A good panel could last up to 5 years.

Get some land throw some panels on it.

Enjoy :)

Hi. Are there any government, public, private or NGO agencies that can do some market research (e.g. to do some research for me and print it out as a recommendation what the Cambodian market need...)?
I am interested preferable about Sihanoukville area and its surroundings.

Hawk the Slayer :

Hi. Are there any government, public, private or NGO agencies that can do some market research (e.g. to do some research for me and print it out as a recommendation what the Cambodian market need...)?
I am interested preferable about Sihanoukville area and its surroundings.


I think the best way is to search in the Business directory here under marketing or business consultants.

Good luck.

Cambodia expat-advisor team

I'd like to make my own peanuts cooked in brown sugar (like the French do) and sell them on the beach.

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