Smart & Huawei Partnership: Possible Gateway to Cambodia Tech Scene Growth

A subsidiary of the Malaysia-owned Axiata Group, Smart Axiata is the leading mobile operator in Cambodia and the pioneering telecommunications provider of 4G LTE network in the country.

To celebrate its 8th anniversary, Smart has clinched a partnership deal with one of China’s largest communications technology company to bring the exclusive launch of Huawei’s latest product, the Mate 9, to its customers.

As a company that has been in the local market for 18 years, Huawei is an experienced player in the market and strives to provide quality, high-performing smartphones at a reasonable price.

The Mate 9 does not deviate from that strategy, with value for money benefits and features such as the latest processors and better camera quality.

Here at Geeks in Cambodia, we are excited about the possibilities of this partnership developing the tech and startup scene here. Both Smart and Huawei have always been more than just tech companies that focus solely on profits. Each have had their fair share of contributions to the local community, including the tech and innovation scene.

For starters, Smart organised the SmartStart programme, which aims to assist young talents in developing digital ideas that are beneficial for society through a series of workshops, hackathons and challenges. Those involved in the programme also have the opportunity to be supported by leading incubator hubs in the Kingdom, as well as investments from Smart itself.

In addition, a month after SmartStart was launched, Smart partnered with The Asia Foundation to sponsor their initiative, TEKHUB, which aims to foster and support innovation and creativity in Cambodia’s tech startups by providing physical office space, networking and mentoring opportunities as well as business management coaching.

Similarly, Huawei’s impact on the development of ICT in the country is tantamount to that of Smart’s.

One notable contribution from Huawei is the launching of “Seeds For The Future” programme in Cambodia. In this programme, 11 Cambodian students completed two weeks of study courses in China and were taught the latest ICT knowledge and technology, improving their technical abilities.

With both companies having such stellar and commendable contributions to the tech and startup scene in Cambodia, we definitely hope to see a partnership that extends beyond just smartphones. Given both of their credentials and reach in Cambodia, a joint project with these two major players would definitely help the scene blossom.

On the other hand, from a business standpoint, CSR projects do come directly from shareholders’ pockets, and with the various CSR projects that both companies are already running both in and out of the tech/startup scene, it may not be feasible in the near future.

Not to mention, it is also possible that Smart and Huawei may receive criticism for such projects when the fact that they are in similar fields is considered. Their efforts may be dubbed as a marketing ploy to bolster their reputation rather than for good intentions, especially if done at dubious timings such as a release of a new phone.

However, we are still hopeful that the two big company players would consider such collaboration in the future. Ultimately, the benefits it would bring to the scene are undeniable, regardless of the certainty of intentions.

But, you can be absolutely certain that if such collaboration were to happen, Geeks in Cambodia would surely be churning out a full-length article about it! Especially when there’s nothing we love more than fruitful developments in the Kingdom’s digital, tech and startup scene.