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SokSiphana&associates Paves the Way for Uber’s Entry into Cambodia

SokSiphana&associates (a member of ZICO Law) recently advised Uber on the launch of its ridesharing technology in Cambodia – making it the quickest to-market launch for the ridesharing company in Southeast Asia.

On 28 September, Brooks Entwistle, Uber’s Chief Business Officer, announced the launch of the first ridesharing platform backed and supported by the Cambodian government. He remarked that,

“Cambodia is the first country in Asia to implement a dedicated ridesharing framework before the launch of Uber. Cambodia now has some of the most modern transport policies in Asia — policies that make the most of the sharing economy.” He also thanked, “supporters in Phnom Penh, including Dr Sok Siphana and associates, who have helped to get us here today. Thank you for your work.”

As a key player in the “shared economy”, Uber faces challenges whenever entering a new market. Often this means navigating a legal environment which does not differentiate between regular transport operations and ridesharing services. To ensure swift and smooth entry to market Uber turned to SokSiphana&associates (a member of ZICO Law), with its local expertise and contacts, to collaborate with Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport to create a modern regulatory environment for the transportation sector. As legal counsel, the firm advised on both compliance with Cambodian transportation law and regulations, and governmental consent and exemption from the requirement to obtain transport operator licenses for their drivers.

To clear the way for Uber’s operations in the country, the team first provided a legal memorandum articulating the difference between regular transport business operators and drivers who provide ridesharing services under Uber’s platform. After consultation, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation decreed to exempt drivers using the ridesharing applications and a Ministerial Directive was issued to formally recognise the legality of Uber’s operations in Cambodia.

SokSiphana&associates continues to advise Uber on Cambodian corporate and employment laws on an ongoing basis, and the ZICO Law network is positioned to assist with navigating Southeast Asia’s legal environment.

Leading the matter, Managing Partner, Dr Sok Siphana commented,

“We are proud to have acted for Uber on this important transition in Cambodia’s transportation sector. We were able to work closely with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to draft two regulations which formally recognise the validity of ridesharing applications operators and the drivers who use the application. For us, this is a great demonstration of our experience crafting unique legal solutions for our clients in record breaking time.”

The SokSiphana&associates team included, Dr Sok Siphana, Managing Partner, Matthew Rendall, Senior Partner, Ol Phirum, Senior Associate, and Sin Soromnear, Associate.

SokSiphana&associates is a leading legal firm in Cambodia providing a full spectrum of corporate and commercial services. The firm was founded in 1998 by Dr Sok Siphana, a highly accomplished lawyer and leading corporate figure who has served in many high profile capacities in the Cambodian government and other prominent organisations.

SokSiphana&associates is a member of ZICO Law, a network of leading independent local law firms focused on the ASEAN region. With a presence in 17 cities in 10 out of 10 ASEAN countries, the networks 300 lawyers enable its clients to enjoy value-added legal services by leveraging on a combination of local expertise and regional insights. ZICO Law is part of ZICO, an integrated network of multidisciplinary firms helping organisations and individuals succeed in ASEAN.