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Doing Business in Cambodia (with description)

Flag of Cambodia
Business Attire: Cambodia is a hot, tropical country that does not lend itself to formal western business attire.

The country experiences two monsoonal periods each year, from November to March and then from May to early October. In formal situations, a lightweight tropical suit is appropriate for both men and women. For less formal occasions, smart casual shirts and blouses with collars are would be sufficient.

Introductions: Always distribute and receive business cards with both hands as a sign of respect to the person you are dealing with. Take a few seconds to study a person's card after it has been handed to you. This is particularly important when dealing with Cambodia's ethnic Chinese minority, many of whom hold influential positions in the country's business community.

Surnames come first and given names come second. Hence, King Norodom Sihanouk's surname is Norodom, however he is referred to by his given name as King Sihanouk, in the same way that British people refer to their monarch as Queen Elizabeth.

Cambodians with short names, such as the country's co-Prime Minister, Hun Sen, are habitually referred to by both names.

When introduced to a Cambodian, refer to them by their surname prefixed by either "Mr", "Mrs" or "Madam" or simply use both their surname and given name until told otherwise.

Business Hours: Government offices are open from Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 4.30pm with a break in the middle of the day.

Privately-run businesses, particularly shops and restaurants, often keep longer hours.

Gifts: Many people in Cambodia have started studying English over the last couple of years. Gifts of English books, language tapes and magazines will be greatly appreciated by business people seeking to improve their command of the English language.

As in most Buddhist cultures, the foot is the least sacred part of the body. Shoes and socks make inappropriate gifts in Cambodia.

Green and red are the most suitable colours for wrapping paper in Cambodia. Avoid the colour white, which is considered unlucky.