A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Rising tourism prompts Advanced Bank of Asia growth in Siem Reap

Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Alistair Walsh

Phnom Penh Post
The Advanced Bank of Asia (ABA) is expanding its Siem Reap operations to take advantage of the growing tourism sector.

The bank is moving out of its 160-square-metre Sivutha Street office into a 1,080-square-metre, three-level office across the road, and it is now one of the biggest bank buildings in the town.

Askhat Azhikhanov, chief executive officer of ABA, says the expansion is in line with its overall direction.

“Tourism is the main driver of business there” he said. “Expanding the tourism sector is one of the major strategies of the government, and we want to take advantage of that,” he added.

“That’s why we’re focusing on Siem Reap because that’s the future,” he added.

Azhikhanov said he hopes to become one of the biggest players in Siem Reap.

Yin Chinda Pheakday, manager of the Siem Reap branch said the move is an indication of how well business is going in Siem Reap.

“Business is growing every day here, every month,” Yin Chinda Pheakday said.

“Business has been growing here since the end of the financial crisis. We’ve see the signs of growth from late 2010.

“Currently, ABA is probably a middle player, it’s not the biggest. But we’ve seen the opportunity and that’s why we’re expanding to one of the biggest buildings. We’re now one of the biggest players in Siem Reap, certainly one of the top five,” he said

According to him, most of the bank’s clients come from small- to medium-sized businesses that cater to the tourism industry.

He expects the tourism industry to expand dramatically in 2015 when ASEAN member countries are expected to implement the ASEAN Economic Community.

“When ASEAN opens up a free trade area, people will start travelling a lot from member countries. This will give strong support to the tourism industry here,” Yin Chinda Pheakday said.

The bank also plans to open a new branch in Sihanoukville in early 2013.

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