Japanese Taxi Leasing Venture Set to Hit Road in Cambodia

A pilot program for a taxi leasing venture by two Japanese companies that aims to make it easier for prospective drivers to get started is set to hit the road in Cambodia by early next month, according to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review on Sunday.

The program will feature a remote “off” switch and GPS to help the leasing company track and recover vehicles from lessees who fail to make payments, allowing rentals even to customers without a credit history, the article said.

The pilot will test the concept’s feasibility in the country, with a view to entering the Thai market by the end of the year, Nikkei said.

Financial companies SBI Holdings and ReNet Japan Group announced the joint venture last month under the name Mobility Finance Cambodia, according to a media release posted to the SBI Holdings website.

The venture plans to expand into leasing automobiles, motorcycles and commercial machinery, with capital of $500,000, the statement adds.

Phav Sothon, an adviser for Taxi Phnom Penh International Airport, an association established in 1999 which currently has about 150 members, said leases would be helpful for new drivers who cannot afford to buy their own vehicle, but had some reservations.

“During high season we can make about $400 per month in profit, but during the low season we only make half of that. It would be hard to pay the monthly lease during the low season,” Mr. Sothon said, adding that most association members currently own their cars.

According to the Nikkei article, the leases would cost about $90 to $180 per month.

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