Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Computer shops in Cambodia

Well, we finally had the chance to test out Future World, the authorised reseller of Apple products here in Siem Reap. I had bought an internal hard drive for Alan's old iBook from Singapore, a Samsung 160GB with a USB case for a total of SGD95 (about USD63). We brought it to Future World to get it installed into the iBook.

We left the laptop there and my handphone number and the shop called me when it was ready. It took about an hour and a half, as they said it would and cost us USD15 (including getting the old hard drive put into the new case). The guys also cleaned the iBook so it looked shiny and new. We were happy it worked fine when we brought it home.

I found out Future World is actually owned by Singapore-listed Thakral Corp. In 2008, Forbes listed Mr Kartar Singh Thakral 30 out of 40 of Singapore's richest.

Thakral also owns IT solutions provider Neeka Limited, with offices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Its office is also on Sivutha, and we checked out prices, which were of course higher than those in Singapore, since the stuff is sent from Singapore.

It is interesting many of the well-known IT companies here are Singapore-owned or co-owned. Deam Computer on Phnom Penh's Sihanouk Boulevard is another Singapore-based one. It was founded in Cambodia in 1996 and the management team listed on its site all have Singaporean Chinese names. It is probably owned by the Kweks, since the MD is Michael Kwek and Executive Director, Derek Kwek.

I was told that iOne, another shop that sells Apple products is co-owned by a Singaporean. In fact one of the Singaporean managers contacted me a while back about a possible partnership with Bloom. I tried Googling iOne and was surprised to find that iOne does not have its own website, so I cannot tell much about the company.

I guess it is unsurprising, since Singapore understands well the importance of IT. I used to work in IT publishing and used to know the region's CIOs (Chief Information Officers), IT directors and the like. Sometimes I think I should help promote understanding of IT in Cambodia by inviting this group of people to share case studies on how they've used IT to improve their business. But I feel too tired to take on another project. (Another one of my crazy ideas is to be a concert promoter, bringing in bands who already have gigs elsewhere in the region, haha).

Anyway, back to Future World. While we were there, there were 2 groups of Khmers who were looking to buy a Mac. I was told by one of the managers there that 70% of Siem Reap's residents use the Mac and of this group, 30% are expats. I have no idea how he measured this, but 70% sounds high to me, especially when you consider all the Internet shops and phone music download shops and printing shops that use second-hand PCs that can be bought for USD200 each.

I tried to find information on the size of Cambodia's IT market but all I could find was this outdated, 2005 report by Springboard Research, a--surprise, surprise--Singapore-based company. The nine-page report is still being sold online for a ridiculous USD1750.

Anyway, the point is that there is a growing group of Cambodians who are taking up the Mac. And it's a wise thing too, in this country where PC viruses are rampant. Sina told me just last week that his friend's PC completely crashed because of a virus. Every time I take my flash drive to an Internet shop here in Cambodia, I always end up with some .EXE file. There are few viruses written for the Mac so I've never had any problems with my MacBook.

1 comment:

YakoDiscovery said...

'Cause the market is so small;
And many secondhand of Laptop and PC Pushed in.


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