Con­tainer mar­ket dy­ing out

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS - Cheng Sokhorng

AS A new busi­ness con­cept that en­tered Cam­bo­dia three years ago, the con­tainer mar­ket be­came quite pop­u­lar as a place for en­ter­tain­ment and shop­ping. But it has been dry­ing up as of late and could dis­ap­pear soon.

Some con­tainer mar­kets in the cap­i­tal found them­selves shut down af­ter run­ning for just a year, while other projects are still pend­ing.

A con­tainer mar­ket lo­cated in the Boe­ung Kak Lake area was shut down af­ter only a year in op­er­a­tion. It is now be­ing turned into an­other com­mer­cial en­ter­tain­ment hub.

The sec­ond-largest con­tainer mar­ket project in the cap­i­tal, 2040 Con­tainer is yet un­de­vel­oped. Lo­cated along Sot­hearos Blvd, near Sof­i­tel Ho­tel, the mar­ket orig­i­nally was set to open at the end of last year.

The Jet Con­tainer mar­ket, lo­cated near the Rus­sian em­bassy, was the first ex­am­ple of a con­tainer mar­ket in the King­dom and the only one in op­er­a­tion in Ph­nom Penh, although busi­ness is slow­ing.

Jet Con­tainer project man­ager Ch­hay Sophiorn said busi­ness had dropped al­most 50 per cent, forc­ing some of the ven­dors to shut down their store.

“The con­tainer mar­ket has slowed down, with busi­ness op­er­a­tions at just 50 per cent,” he said. “Ven­dors – im­pa­tient and suf­fer­ing com­pe­ti­tion from other con­tainer mar­kets, as well as busi­ness ven­dors in their own mar­ket, have been giv­ing up on their busi­nesses.”

How­ever, he said the com­pany is now try­ing to come up with some­thing new to at­tract cus­tomers and visi­tors.

“The clos­ing of busi­ness ven­dors in the mar­ket also im­pacts the mar­ket im­age, so the num­ber of visi­tors also de­creases. We are now pre­par­ing a new con­cept to main­tain qual­ity con­trol and at­tract more cus­tomers,” he said.

Chea Sokha­narin, the owner of a clothes shop in the Jet Con­tainer mar­ket, said she has no­ticed a huge dif­fer­ence from her first year of busi­ness here.

“The first year of busi­ness op­er­a­tion here went re­ally well and was suc­cess­ful, but af­ter the open­ing of sev­eral other con­tainer mar­kets, it be­came sat­u­rated and prof­its de­clined. A lot of ven­dors gave up their busi­nesses as they could not af­ford the rent,” she said.

In or­der to keep her busi­ness alive, Sokha­narin now sells mer­chan­dise mainly through on­line plat­forms. She re­mains con­fi­dent, how­ever, that the con­tainer mar­ket will still op­er­ate for a long time.

“I be­lieve in the owner of the Jet Con­tainer mar­ket be­cause he con­tin­u­ously changes and up­dates his busi­ness strat­egy in or­der to at­tract more peo­ple,” she said.

Fed­er­a­tion of As­so­ci­a­tions for Small and Medium En­ter­prises of Cam­bo­dia pres­i­dent Te Taing­por said man­age­ment skills in small and medium en­ter­prises are lim­ited.

He said most of them sim­ply copy other busi­ness mod­els rather than im­ple­ment their own strate­gies. Hence, the fail­ure of the con­tainer mar­ket is a re­sult of that.

“This fail­ure is also due to the ex­ces­sive gra­tu­itous copy­ing of other busi­ness mod­els – we saw their suc­cess, but it doesn’t mean that copy­cats will suc­ceed too. We need to think about com­pe­ti­tion, costs and mar­ket shares.

“Most young en­trepreneurs merely fol­lowed oth­ers and opened sim­i­lar busi­nesses in the same lo­ca­tion. So how can their busi­nesses suc­ceed if they do not have the proper man­age­ment skills?”


Con­tainer mar­kets once at­trac­tive en­ter­tain­ment cen­ters now be­com­ing less fre­quented.

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