Singapore and Cambodia Launch Digital Corridor to Boost SME Trade

Posted by Written by Anisha Sharma and Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 2 minutes

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the launch of the Financial Transparency Corridor (FTC) on June 18, to help increase trade between small and medium-sized businesses of the two countries.

The FTC allows for enhanced data accessibility for the financial institutions of Singapore and Cambodia and thus will enable them to make better risk credit assessments. The initiative is currently in its first phase, with the initial group of participating financial institutions being onboarded. The objective is to carry out the first live financing transactions in the latter half of this year.

Participating financial institutions

The participating financial institutions are as follows:

  • Singapore:

    • Liquid Group;
    • Sing Investments & Finance; and
    • ANEXT Bank Pte Ltd.
  • Cambodia:

    • Advanced Bank of Asia;
    • Acleda Bank;
    • Phillip Bank;
    • Sathapana Bank; and
    • Wing Bank.

Challenges Faced by Cambodian SMEs

SMEs in Cambodia have difficulties accessing financing needed to expand their businesses.  This is due to various factors.

Approximately 74 percent of Cambodian SMEs cite collateral requirements as a major barrier to obtaining loans from financial institutions. Many lack sufficient assets to meet these requirements.

Only about 21 percent of Cambodian SMEs have access to formal banking services. This is significantly lower compared to other ASEAN countries. Further, the average interest rate for SME loans in Cambodia ranges from 12 to 18 percent, which is relatively high and can be prohibitive for many small businesses.

Importantly, over 60 percent of SMEs in Cambodia do not have formal financial records or a credit history, making it challenging for banks to assess them and develop a credit rating.

Finally, around 43 percent of SME owners have a limited understanding of financial products and services, impacting their ability to effectively manage their finances and access loans.

As such, the FTC initiative can enable greater trade between Cambodian SMEs and the rest of the world through improved data accessibility.

Singapore’s importance as a trade and investment partner

Singapore has increased its investments in Cambodia. The city-state was the second-largest source of foreign investment in Cambodia in 2023. Further, bilateral trade reached US$1.8 billion in the first four months of 2024, an increase of 42 percent from the same period in 2023.  

Several key sectors have benefited from the enhanced trade and investment relationship:

  1. Manufacturing: Singaporean investments have played a crucial role in boosting Cambodia’s manufacturing sector. Factories and production facilities established by Singaporean companies have contributed to increased production capacity and improved quality standards.
  2. Real Estate and Construction: Singaporean developers have been active in Cambodia’s real estate market, investing in residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects. These developments have transformed the urban landscape and provided modern living and working spaces.
  3. Services: The services sector, including finance, hospitality, and retail, has seen significant growth due to Singaporean investments. Financial institutions from Singapore have introduced innovative banking solutions, improving financial inclusion and accessibility for Cambodian businesses and individuals.
  4. Technology and Innovation: Collaboration between Singapore and Cambodia in the technology sector has led to the introduction of advanced digital solutions. This partnership has facilitated the adoption of modern technologies, driving efficiency and productivity in various industries.


Launching the Financial Transparency Corridor further strengthens the economic partnership between Singapore and Cambodia. By enhancing data accessibility and improving risk credit assessments, the FTC aims to facilitate greater trade and investment flows, benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both countries.

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