Ripe for Growth

By Ben Yue in Hong Kong | June 21, 2013
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Cambodia is booming, and its flourishing economy is being fueled by investment from Chinese state-owned and private companies.

When planeloads of Chinese tourists land in Siem Reap to visit the world famous Angkor Wat temple complex, they could be forgiven for thinking they’re still in China despite having had their passports stamped. The motorized rickshaws known as tuk-tuks they take might have been donated by the government of Hubei province, the de rigueur Smile of Angkor Wat dance performance might have been operated by the Yunnan Media Industrial Investment Holding Group and, of course, there are the Chinese hawkers in the night markets.

Besides, the Chinese yuan is the second most commonly used foreign currency in the country after the US dollar, circulating widely among local guides and convenience stores.

About 333,900 Chinese tourists visited Cambodia in 2012, up 35 percent year-on-year and predicted to reach 1 million in 2020, according to Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism.

To Succeed in Myanmar, Find Solid Local Partners

By Kenneth Stevens | June 04, 2013

Over the past 18 months, I have witnessed a growing flood of foreign investors, businesspeople and trade missions pouring into Myanmar to seek their fortunes in the last great frontier economy of Asia. At this week’s World Economic Forum in the capital of Naypitaw, foreign visitors will meet with Myanmar’s best and brightest in the hope of finding local partners to help them realize these ambitions.

Most of these visitors are aware of the basic challenges of investing in Myanmar: significant corruption; untested legal systems; inadequate infrastructure; underdeveloped human resources and other issues. At Leonard Capital, we note that early investors in other emerging countries such as Cambodia and Laos faced similar limitations, but managed to mitigate these risks and make successful investments. From our experience in all these countries, the top challenge for investors in Myanmar will be finding reliable business partners who will properly align their interests with those of the foreign partner.