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Chinese mobiles finding favor in Cambodian market       Updated: 2009-07-14 21:16

PHNOM PENH, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Distributors here have said that the number of Chinese-sourced mobile phones being sold in Cambodia each month is climbing rapidly, local newspaper the PhnomPenh Post reported on Tuesday.

Not only are they cheaper than leading brands, but some have features including the ability to use two SIM cards, built-in radio and TV receivers and MP3 and MP4 players, it said.

The Ky Hout company said that it imports between 6,000 and 8,000 phones monthly for distribution in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang. The sales manager, who asked not to be named, said customers liked the fact that the phones were substantially cheaper than the competition.

She said sales were up ten-fold since the start of the year. "Previously we imported only 300 t0 600 of these phones each month that sell for between 35 U.S. dollars and 100 U.S. dollars each," she said, adding, "Our sales of Nokia phones have dropped by 80 percent."

Srey Touch, the owner of another importer, the 03 Company, agreed that sales of Chinese-made phones were up sharply. "We import new model phones two or three times a month, with up to 500phones each time," he said, adding, "The phones sell especially well during the big national holidays such as Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben and the Water Festival."

But representatives of Nokia and Sony Ericsson said their market share was not being hit by the cheaper competition. "Sales are stable," said Yoeun Makara, a retail sales manager who imports Nokia phones. "Moreover, 80 percent of our customers choose to buy Nokia because it is strong and robust, and they like the new touch screen models."

Chea Mony, the head of marketing at Sony Ericsson in Cambodia, is also bullish. He said sales were up at least 10 percent this year. "The influx of Chinese cell-phones creates opportunities for many users, but it is not an obstacle for Sony Ericsson because competition goes beyond price, and Sony Ericsson offers many different prices including low, medium and high," he said.

So Khun, minister of posts and telecommunications, said in May that 4.23 million of the country's 13.4 million citizens have mobile phones, and that the nation has just 42,000 landlines.

Nine mobile phones companies operate in Cambodia: Beeline, Excell, Hello, MFone, Metfone, Mobitel, qb, Smart and Star-Cell.


Editor: An