The local WorldBridge Group of Companies and South Korean-owned Luxury Business Group (LBG) entered into a joint venture (JV) to develop professional training in the Cambodian retail industry, with a focus on the luxury segment.

An agreement was signed to this effect at the Cambodia-Korea Business and Investment Forum on January 27, in Seoul, South Korea.

The JV, Luxury Business Group Cambodia, “aims to differentiate Cambodia’s luxury industry and accelerate its growth into a world-class retail playground by providing recruitment and training for luxury brands and the retail sector”, according to a joint statement.

Topics for the training courses include: “operational service manual development, store and brand human resources organisation strategy, store and luxury brand human resource management know-how, and leadership”, it said.

“LBG, global consulting and operations firm, specialises in luxury and retail business consulting, including recruitment, training, and customer service development. In Cambodia, LBG will work with distributors, property owners, and brand owners to develop luxury service strategies, recruitment, and training to support the development of a robust retail sector,” it added.

Speaking in the statement, LBG founder and chairman Daniel Mayran highlighted the Kingdom’s geographical location at the heart of Indochina and in close proximity to India and China.

“In addition, with Thailand and Vietnam as neighbouring countries, Cambodia is expected to grow into a huge luxury market in the future, and it is a significant market strategically,” Mayran, who is one of the French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (FKCCI) five vice-presidents, was quoted as saying.

“We will provide a differentiated consulting approach and insight into the challenges and responses faced in the luxury and retail field and focus on enhancing the quality of service of human resources through customised solutions,” he added.

In the same statement, WorldBridge Group chairman Sear Rithy commented that raising the bar and setting new industry standards “is critical for serving the Cambodian consumer and capturing the full potential of tourism dollars in the domestic market and travel retail such as downtown duty-free.

“Top global brands in the luxury and premium segments require professional skills currently in short supply. Advancement of the Cambodian retail sector will require significant investments in human resource development,” he was quoted as saying.

The statement remarked on the rapid pace that new hotels and resorts, shopping centres, and high-rises are going up in the Kingdom, focusing on the “Phnom Penh CBD”, the capital’s de-facto Central Business District comprising five of its 14 districts: Daun Penh, Prampi Makara, Beoung Keng Kang, Chamkarmon and Tuol Kork.

Among these new developments, sitting in Phnom Penh CBD’s “centre”, The Peak “will open the Kingdom’s first Shangri-La hotel and luxury shopping mall with over 25,000sqm in Q4 [the fourth quarter, ending December 31] of 2023, featuring top global luxury brand flagship stores. These brands will require the advanced retail human resources that LBG will provide,” it said.

The Peak is developed by a joint venture of WorldBridge and Singapore-listed Oxley Holdings Ltd, at an estimated cost of $580 million, according to a Forbes article posted on the Cambodian firm’s website.

The statement added: “WorldBridge opened its doors in 1992 as a homegrown logistics provider and has grown into a top choice for international partners, bringing FDI [foreign direct investment] and contributing to economic growth in the Kingdom.

“WorldBridge diverse portfolio of companies includes air, sea and land logistics, property development, banking and financial services, food and beverage, and consumer goods and services,” it said.