Direct English

Interview with British Chamber of Commerce | Cambodia

Cambodia investment

british chamber cambodia

The British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia worked with Linguaphone Group Ltd during 2017, helping them successfully find a new Master Franchisee for their pre-school English language and international kindergarten program, Pingu’s English.  Working with the Group again, they are now helping them identify a suitable Master Franchisee for the Group’s Direct English language program for adults across Cambodia. Here Ms Nipoan Chheng, Executive Director with the British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, shares their thoughts and advice for anyone considering investing in the Cambodian market.

What is the key role of the British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia?

The British Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia has been established since 1995. Our core focus is to provide a forum for British business people in Cambodia to meet and develop their networks for mutual benefit, with a view to encouraging good commercial and social relationships within the Cambodian business community. We do this by assisting our members in building their networks, connecting our members to each other, and creating business opportunities to help them to grow their businesses.

Why should an investor consider Cambodia to develop a nationwide English training business?

The Cambodian market has some unique traits that make it a desirable marketplace for businesses to explore investing in. The Cambodian market offers strong economic growth that has seen the GDP grow by an average of 7% over the past 20 years, making it constantly rank in the top six fastest growing markets in the world. What’s more, the Cambodian population is also young and dynamic, with 50% of the county under the age of 25. As the middle-class grows in Cambodia and the GDP per head is increasing too, this is making the market more and more attractive. It is also a relatively easy place to set up a business as a foreigner, with no foreign ownership restrictions, easy access-to-work permits and visas. It is also seeing rapid expansion in the education sectors, as well as in construction and the service sector.

What is the potential of a strong English language training program such as Direct English in Cambodia?

There is a huge potential for a quality English program targeted at adults in Cambodia. English is a core part of the business world in South East Asia and Cambodia is ahead of the curve, regionally for its levels of English. Due to the population being so young, we are witnessing the rapid growth of the business sector and with this, large volumes of foreign investment, businesses and brands are coming to Cambodia. Naturally this is increasing the standard of English that is required in the workplace and candidates in the job market with certified English qualifications will stand out.

What is your impression of the franchise market in Cambodia?

The franchise market represents a large part of foreign brands coming to Cambodia. The model works well as the growth of consumerism here is leading to an increased demand for established international brands. We have seen a growing number of foreign brands arriving in the past five years, including Nike and Adidas, Costa and Starbucks, as well as luxury car brands like Jaguar Land Rover. These are often brought in under a franchise style or joint venture agreement, as brands look for an established local operator that already understands the Cambodia market, its consumers and how to drive the brand locally.

Are you able to offer any advice to nationwide entrepreneurs interested in the exclusive franchise rights to Direct English across Cambodia?

For local companies in Cambodia and nearby markets, looking to secure the rights to Direct English, I would suggest that they have the facilities and networks in place, in order to bring such a well-respected brand to Cambodia, or if not, the ability to do so. The private education sector is growing rapidly here. To represent an international brand such as Direct English, it’s essential to understand the market, the demand and fully evaluate the opportunity.

How have you found working with the Linguaphone Group?

We have already worked with Linguaphone Group Ltd to help them identify and secure a Cambodian partner who will bring the Group’s pre-school program, Pingu’s English to the marketplace. During this time, we have developed a fantastic working relationship together as their team have worked tirelessly with us to work with potential partners, both remotely and here in Phnom Penh. We could not be happier to have contributed to their success in bringing their strong British brand, Pingu’s English to the Cambodian market, and look forward to hopefully doing the same with Direct English too in the year ahead.

For entrepreneurs and companies interested in the opportunity to franchise Direct English across Cambodia, please contact or click here


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