Dalton Wong of Speedwind, a worthy recipient of the 2022 Asean Business Excellence Award
Dalton Wong, Chairman and founder of Speedwind Cambodia, a company born on a dream of many ideas coming together, with great passion and an opportunity seized, sat down with Khmer Times to talk about his company in conjunction with his receiving of The 2022 Asean Business Excellence Award, for an interview.
Published below are excerpts for our readers.
Please tell us briefly about yourself and your company.
My Name is Dalton, an Indonesian who has been living in Cambodia for more than 12 years now. Speedwind is a company that I founded with a few partners a few years ago to handle nation-wide distribution, especially for last mile delivery.
How did you come up with the concept for Speedwind in the first place? And why did you choose Cambodia for your venture?
Speedwind is not a concept, rather a combination of partners from different experiences and an evolution of traditional distribution business in fast moving consumer products.
Even though I was quite young when I first visited the Kingdom, I had visited most of the capital cities in Southeast Asia and greater Asia including China. I decided to base myself in Cambodia because of its people and the fact that it is one of the fastest growing emerging markets. Cambodians are generally very friendly and open for new ideas. They are one of the youngest populaces in the region, and they are eager to learn new knowledge. I was convinced that Kingdom of Cambodia has the potential to grow to become a stronger economy.
What is your take on operating a business in the Kingdom? What do you think are the main challenges and opportunities?
During the early years of doing business in Cambodia, we faced multiple issues especially understanding the local investment law and regulations.
However, in addition to its pro-business policies such as a business can be 100% foreign owned, and it is primarily a USD-denominated economy which means exchange rate risks are mitigated or predictable, the recent investment policy by CDC has given better clarity to investors who might be interested in Cambodia. To be very honest, the new investment policy is one of the most progressive we have seen so far in the region. Furthermore, there is no capital control in the Kingdom of Cambodia, which makes it very safe for investors to place their investments here and very easy to remit their dividends or profits out.
Can you please tell us about your experience in getting through the pandemic? What do you feel about the government’s measures during that time?
I can only say I’m very glad to be in Cambodia during the pandemic; as a foreigner, I wasn’t discriminated or placed in the lesser priority during the vaccination exercise – I went to the pediatric hospital, queued, registered and got my vaccination just like any other Cambodian. Cambodia extended the vaccination exercise to all foreigners resident in Cambodia, even those who had trouble getting back to their home countries because of the travel restrictions and stoppage of flights, and its procurement of vaccines beyond those they had received under Covax, was far ahead of many other countries in the region and beyond.
The Cambodian government’s strict measures towards certain locations and a period of time were necessary and proved to be more effective than neighboring countries. In fact, Cambodia was among the first to open up its borders, the first to eliminate the Covid testing requirements and the first to lift quarantine measures.
What is the latest update on your company’s development and what are your plans for the future?
We are constantly looking at developing our business into 2 segments, fast moving consumer goods and nationwide last mile delivery service. We hope that we will be able to be part of the nationwide e-commerce development in Cambodia.
As the recipient of the 2022 Asean Business Excellence Award, what are your thoughts on this achievement?
I am extremely flattered and humbled. However, this award is possible only because of the dedication and hard work by all my colleagues at Speedwind. Speedwind will continue to improve the business processes and at the same time grow together with the Kingdom.
What is your take on being the head of the Indonesian business community in Cambodia? From your experience, do you think Cambodia is a good destination for Indonesian investors?
I think being the President of Indocham doesn’t make me the head of the Indonesian business community. IndoCham is a platform for Indonesian businesses and professionals to gather, network, discuss and hopefully collaborate so that they can have a better understanding of local and regional developments, and have access to relevant information and current affairs that can be of help in their businesses or work.
I believe with the right education and policies, Cambodia can be an even more attractive place to invest and do business, and not just for Indonesian investors, but any foreign investors. Cambodia has one of the lowest barriers to entry for any businesses, and its pro-business policies such as allowing 100% foreign ownership, its dollarized economy, no capital controls, and young work force are all very favorable growth factors.
What is your opinion on CSR? Can you tell us briefly about what your company has done to give back to society?
In my opinion, we should look at CSR with a different perspective; in layman terms, CSR is for businesses and individuals to try to be a better entity or person towards others who are in need of help. CSR should be initiated by needs rather than what’s available. Many companies set aside a budget, then choose the charity organization to donate to. Whereas my personal opinion is that we should first identify who are in need, who we wish to help, and then find the means to do so.
Do you have any message for our readers?
Make CSR a part of your business, and always look for ways to give back to the host community that you are a part of. As a guest in a foreign country, we should always try to be a responsible member of the community and fly our home country’s flag high.