Oppo FTW

For a company that has basically been selling smartphone for just over five years, Oppo’s meteoric rise has been something to behold. They have gone from an obscure, little-known Chinese electronics manufacturer to China’s largest seller of phones and 5th in the entire World.

The combination of an excellent product offering and a well-targeted price-point has launched Oppo as the main smartphone producer in Asia. iCare Benefits was voted in 2019 as one of Oppo’s best 5 retailers in South East Asia and we know how good their product has turned out to be.

A sincere well-done!



iCare Benefits has been a client of AWS since 2017. Our entire system infrastructure across all  operating countries is hosted on Amazon servers and our entire staff uses its cloud to run our business.

I am not surprised that they lead the worldwide cloud market. They have a stellar team in South East Asia.



iCare Benefits currently has operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and hopefully soon in Myanmar. Through iCare, we have had the chance to meet local Ministers, Secretaries of State and other Government officials who have confidentially discussed their countries potential over-reliance on China. These officials were quick to highlight that the Belt-and-Road initiative is a double-edged sword and can trap smaller countries into a debt circle from which it is difficult to get out.

The Kiel Institute has now estimated that Laos and Cambodia are both in the top 6 of highest indebted countries to China as a % of GDP..

The question remains if these countries will be able to get out of this spiral, or will it lead to a Chinification such as the one already seen in the coastal city of Sihanouk Ville…



With all the on-going discussions in the US with the Medicare-for-All and single payer options proposed by Democrats Sanders, Warren and AOC, the healthcare data in OECD in clear in showing how the US is clearly an outlier in terms of spending.

Just off the bat, the US spends almost double on healthcare on a per capita basis compared to other OECD countries with much higher uninsured rates. US healthcare spending is obviously unreasonable but there seems to be little short-term momentum to pass anything that might alter the ACA.

Full data: Health Spending

Onto 2020 then…



I have not always understood, or even agreed, with Sam Rainsy’s actions and inactions in the past when dealing with the CNRP and Cambodia’s political class in general. However his recent take on Project Syndicate detailing how Chinese companies are using China’s leverage over the Cambodian Government to bypass Trump’s tariff is spot-on.

It not only looks at the re-routing itself but correctly assesses that most of the Chinese investment and wealth remains within Chinese hands and little goes to the Cambodian population. Moreover, and with the EBA being under revision, Cambodia better start thinking about alternative sources of investment or they might fall into a Chinese pit from which they will not be able to climb out.

Sam Rainsy’s Cambodia Throws a Wrench into Trump’s Trade War

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A non-level Playing Field

Earlier this month, the Southeast Asia Globe came out with a great investigation on the grey auto market in Cambodia and its effect on traditional, water-level auto importers. The article, to me, showed a glimpse of the larger picture of doing business in Cambodia and the difficulty by foreign companies, like ours, to play by the rules and remain competitive.

My friend, Rami Sharaf, has always been a strong advocate of this and I am glad he decided to go on the record for this article.

Thrifty shades of grey

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