Management Insider speaks to Paul J. Raymond, associative expert at local human resources & management consultancy Saint Blanquat & A.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
In a nutshell, I’ve been in general-managerial roles for international companies in Asia for 25 years, in Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam and Singapore. I’ve also been involved in producing marketing and consumer surveys.
Can you quickly sum up Saint Blanquat’s business?
Saint Blanquat is a company with two pillars. The first pillar – the original pillar when we launched two years ago – is human resources (HR) and recruitment services. Recently, we’ve added a new pillar, which is business consulting and market research, and we’ve done that because we think the Cambodian market has reached the point where it really needs those services.
You’re solely based in Cambodia?
Yes, we’re a Phnom Penh based business, but in terms of our market-research services we will also be reaching out regionally, to Vietnam, to Thailand, to Myanmar and to Laos, for example. We think Phnom Penh is located in the heart of the Indochina region – of Southeast Asia – which is incredibly vibrant at the moment. Phnom Penh is very conveniently located for those markets, and we think Phnom Penh is the most dynamic market at the moment.
With the latest pillar of your business, you aim to provide market-research services that you say nobody else is providing. Can you explain that in a little more detail?
At present there are next to no detailed market surveys for the Cambodian market, other than some broad macro-economic information and broad surveys of trends. A company like ours could provide market research and business consulting for a single client, because market research and business consulting go hand in hand. But what we want to do is carry out detailed surveys of market segments for, say, 10 clients at a time. That makes the surveys – which require huge amounts of work – more affordable for each of the companies that need the information. There are two kinds of market research you can carry out: one is generic, and it provides the information you need to understand the reality of the market; the other is specific – one company, one product. We’re looking to produce the kind of generic market reports that can interest groups of companies looking to be part of market segments in Cambodia.
What market segments will you be concentrating on?
We’re particularly interested in four aspects of the Cambodian market. The first is the emergence of the middle class, which is going to be a driver of the consumer market. The second aspect is demographic – the large numbers of young people and their use of social media and the Internet. We’re also focusing on Cambodia’s working classes, their salary expectations and the speed of salary increases, which is obviously of interest to industry. We want to provide precise information about skills, salaries and benefits, as well as the needs and expectations of Cambodian workers for industries looking to come into the market. Our other focus is on retail and real estate in Phnom Penh, and how the opening of commercial malls and offices is totally redefining the retail and property landscape in Phnom Penh.
In other words, you will be producing four in-depth generic surveys for clusters of businesses?
Yes, the surveys will cover the middle classes in Phnom Penh; social media and Cambodian consumers; industry and services, with a focus on Cambodia’s working classes; and retail and real estate in Phnom Penh.
Text by Chris Taylor | Photograph supplied