Population data on internet usage
Cambodia is an ASEAN member country and bordering with Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Cambodia is one of the developing countries that experienced a few civil wars, which have not had to rebuild infrastructures, education, but lost almost one-third of the population. Currently, Cambodia has 16.36 million people with 24% living in the urban area. However, 12 million or 76% of the population have access to the internet, and of that 49 % are social media users. Compared to the neighboring countries, Thailand has 70 million people and similarly, 74% of them are internet users.
There are 29.20 million people or 181% of the population registered for mobile connections. Interestingly, internet users grew by 56% in 2019, but the speed of the internet has slowed down with the current speed at 14.34mbps. Due to the increase in population and internet users, the speed has gone down because there was no improvement or update on internet infrastructure or installation.
Social Media Usage in Cambodia
With such an increase of 2 million Facebook users, ranging from age 22-26, Cambodia not only need to improve internet speed but also need to work on privacy and security for internet users. According to World Bank data on Cambodia policy, there was no data protection and privacy for the Cambodia Digital economy, while customer protection and cybercrime prevention law was in the drafting process. Besides Cambodia, all the other ASEAN countries have better policies than Cambodia. See in Fig-1.
Interestingly, social media usage has differed for males and females. Among Facebook users, about 2/3 of users are men and more than women users. One reason is because of gender stereotype in Cambodia. Cambodian believes that men are supposed to go to work and women are at home preparing meals and taking care of children, so women don’t have free time to use the phone or there don’t know how to use a smartphone. Also, besides the largely male population of Facebook over female, people both men and women aged from 45+ don’t use any social media as well because they might not have a smartphone or they don’t know how to use since the devices are not equipped with the language that they could understand. This gender gap in social media usage is not distinctly different in other ASEAN countries like Myanmar and Thailand.
According to the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), the top three messaging platforms used in Cambodia are Whatapps (1.5M), Messenger(1.3M), and Viber(260K). On the other hand, Line seems to experience the network effects in Thailand. Cambodia is only one Mekong River country which uses Whatapps most for messaging.
Digital Transaction among Cambodians
Thailand is very active in e-commerce, using online banking or have a bank account, and purchasing goods and products online. Unlike Cambodia, there is not much e-commerce or online purchase going on since there are no such things as Lazada,Shopee, Amazon, and so on. In addition, only 22% of Cambodian have a bank account, but 3.8% of them make an online payment and the average transaction of the user in a month is about 1.13 times. This is truly a low number of transactions and shows that people in Cambodia are less likely to use mobile banking for digital transactions.
Rather than using a bank account to transfer money to one another or make an online payment, people in Cambodia use Wing, E-money, True Money, or Limhour Veiluy. These mobile money accounts allow the electricity or water company to create their account so that people can transfer money through a middle person. And the process is easily done by agents and users do not necessarily need to know instruction. The most used one by locals or migrant workers is wing (56%) because it allowed them to send money easily and bank accounts are just too complicated for them to use. However, ABA mobile banking and Pipay are starting to promote mobile banking in Cambodia to be more user-friendly in the transaction.
- World Bank Group,(2018). Benefiting From The Digital Economy: Cambodia Policy Note.Washing DC. Derived from : http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/100841543598854492/Benefiting-from-the-Digital-Economy-Cambodia-Policy-Note
2. May Kunmakara,(2019).NBC strives for financial inclusion. Khmer Times
3. Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia, (2019).Cambodia Messenger App Users in 2019.
4.Simon Kemp,(2019). Digital 2019;Cambodia. Derived from :