Forging strong relationships is the key to successful business in Cambodia, advises Oscar-winning producer and UK Trade Envoy for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Lord David Puttnam.
As part of a whistle-stop tour of South East Asia representing the British government, Lord Puttnam headed the latest in a series of BritCham VIP Speaker’s Lunch events on Thursday. During the talk at the capital’s Intercontinental Hotel, Lord Puttnam shared some of his business-related experiences during the 48 years he has been visiting Cambodia and the region.
He said, “In Asia, business is all about relationships. In the Western world, it’s more transactional. Once you’ve established an atmosphere of trust, it can be a relationship that can last forever. I would urge all foreign businessmen in Cambodia that, if they haven’t already realised, this is something you should quickly come to terms with.”
In November 2012, Lord Puttnam was appointed the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to promote trade for UK business in the quickly developing economic area. As part of his duties, he was in Cambodia between March 4 and 7 to strengthen trade and investment ties with the country. As an education advocate, Lord Puttnam also spent time forging educational links between the two countries.
He said: “The aim of this trip is to understand more about trade and investment environment in Cambodia. I want to boost commercial, educational, cultural and political relations between our two Kingdoms.”
During his visit, Lord Puttnam met Prime Minister Hun Sen, Educational Minister Dr Hang Choun Naron and Commercial Minister Sun Chanthol to discuss business and education opportunities and challenges. He went on to meet UK business representatives and the Cambodian alumni of UK Universities, and hosted a screening of the film he produced, The Killing Fields, at Meta House.
Hailing from Queensgate in England, Lord Puttnam scooped a string of awards during his 30 years as an independent producer of a series of smash-hit films, including The Killing Fields, which was set during the Khmer Rouge reign, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, The Mission, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. In total, his films have scooped 10 Oscars, 25 BAFTAs and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.
In 1982, he was awarded a CBE, followed by a knighthood in 1995. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy, specifically in relation to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries.
Lord Puttnam is also currently Chancellor of the Open University and has served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum and a string of other organisations.