Making Contacts  |  Business Meetings  |  Corporate Structure   | Business Hours

Making Contacts
  • Connections are important in Cambodia.  You should try to find someone to introduce you before attempting to make contact with the government or a company. 
  • Begin with the diplomatic and trade missions in your home country, if there are any.  Well known foreign companies are less likely to need introductions.  Most of the current business interests in the country tend to be large consortiums dominated by Southeast Asian enterprises focusing on infrastructure projects.
  • Only the senior officials have authority.  As a result, you should try to meet with the senior most person possible.  If your project is a large one, it is advisable to meet with the government minister first, who will then direct you to those people positioned to carry out the mechanics of the deal.  If you are dealing with senior level officials who are Western educated, their attitudes and responses may be somewhat more predictable and familiar.
  • In general, Cambodians welcome foreign business people. Once you establish a presence in Cambodia, local representatives or partners are needed to keep your business interests alive and conduct business on your behalf. 
  • Foreigners who show an interest in developing long-term relationships will have an advantage in gaining trust from the Cambodians.  Once the Cambodians trust you, they tend to be loyal and valuable friends. Incorporating a training element for local employees into any contract will be popular because the government is focused on developing the skills of its labor force.
  • When you are in Cambodia, you may need to hire an interpreter who can also function as your guide.
Business Meetings
  • Cambodians traditionally greet   other by placing their hands with the palms facing together in front of their chests and bowing slightly.  In modern times, men usually shake hands, although women exchange the traditional greeting.  Foreigners should shake hands with both men and women, but should wait until the woman offers her hand before extending their own.
  • Begin meetings with some casual conversation on topics such as your travels or your positive impressions of the country.  Be careful about what you say and to whom you say it.  Always be polite in your social and professional interactions.
  • Gifts are not required for initial meetings.  If you prefer, present some samples of your products or an inexpensive but tasteful item with your corporate logo.  Consult your local partner or representative for guidance.
Corporate Structure
  • Most modern Cambodian businesses are public entities, but usually operate like private concerns.  Each province is governed by a local political leader.  As a result, corruption is widespread, particularly in public sector.
  • The private sector has been influenced by French corporate structures.  The management hierarchy is usually headed by the director general, followed by the general manager, and the managers.  On occasion, a president ranks at the top above the director general.
  • There are virtually no women with responsible roles in the government.  However, most small businesses and individual proprietorships are staffed by women.

Business Hours

Government offices are officially open Monday to Saturday from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.  The lunch break and siesta are from 11:00 or 11:30 am to about 2:00 or 2: 30 pm.  Private businesses and shops generally follow the same schedule, although some shops may remain open longer.

Banks, ministries and embassies are closed during all public holidays and festivals.

Public Holidays:

January 1 - New Year's Day
March 8 - Women's Day
April 13 - Khmer New Year
May 1 - Labour Day
June 1 - International Children's Day
September 24 - Constitution Day
October 23 - Paris Peace Agreement
October 30 - King's Birthda
November 9 - Independence Day
December 10 - UN Human Rights Day

For more information:


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