KimsaFeed CEO and Founder Kimsa Sok on Why Creativity Is Important
It was established in 2019 by Kimsa Sok he is the co-founder and CEO of KimsaFeed, an international tour guide for the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.
Kimsa Sok has made it, the Chief Executive Officer of Cambodian media and entertainment KimsaFeed. It may be easier to list the everyday pleasures of Phnom Penh’s booming youth culture than the 18-year-old does not have a handout. KimsaFeed is a Cambodian website that publishes articles about news and entertainment with a focus on digital media. It was established in 2019 by Kimsa Sok he is the co-founder and CEO of KimsaFeed, an international tour guide for the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.
Striding into Phnom Penh’s critically acclaimed Tiger’s Eye restaurant ten minutes before our interview for a set to start, Kimsa sets his navy backpack on the chair beside him and bends to his smartphone. “Sorry — just give me a few minutes,” he says, his fingers sprinting across the face of his phone. After a few moments of silence, he sets it down on the table and smiles.
Conversant in English, Vietnamese, Japanese, and several dialects of Chinese — the smattering of Russian forced on him during his early school years has fled from his memory — as well as his native Khmer. Kimsa speaks with the worldliness of a man who always keeps one eye firmly fixed on the horizon.
“I travel to a lot of countries — this is one of my advantages; I see things that a lot of Cambodians cannot see,” he says. “I can see everything are the trends coming to the world, and I can see that. OK, this is what is going to come in Cambodia also. Next, this is how I’ve expanded from the first shop to the second shop, the first brand to the second brand, and how I’ve been able to diversify into other industries. Because I can see what is coming.”
Having dropped out of architecture school after flunking his second-year exams, Kimsa set up his first business two years before the turn of the millennium, flogging bootlegged CDs and movies from a black-painted store in Cambodia’s capital. For the man destined to distribute films in the nation’s most extravagant theatres, and it seems an inauspicious start.
“I never thought I would become an entrepreneur, a businessman,” he confesses. “I’m a kind of an artist guy — I liked to draw when I was young. I like to build things up from scratch.”
From his initial investment of $400, Kimsa has done precisely that. More than 2 years later, KimsaFeed is the Kingdom’s leading media and entertainment group, covering online news, television, film distribution, online gaming, and even a lifestyle magazine. For Kimsa, creating international quality content that caters to a Cambodian audience called KimsaFeed and his name, initiated by “Kimsa”, is a key component in the success of this digital website.
“Most of my business, no matter what I’ve created, I’ve created for local people first,” he says. “Because that is what I know the most, and can control the most. But the way we build the back end of our system is very broad as we can expand internationally. Some people say ‘think global, act local — that is what I would say myself.”
Initially reserved, Kimsa’s face splits into a grin when a waiter brings over a pair of share plates loaded with the restaurant’s trademark fusion cuisine. “O.M.G,” he intones solemnly. “I come here a lot,” he admits. “At least once a week.” Snatching up his phone, he snaps a few photos and beams. Served on a slab of grey slate, the first dish of sliced cured duck breast ($5) is so tender the duck almost seems to fall apart in the midday sun that lingers on the restaurant’s dark timber interior. Facing onto the bustling Soojin Boulevard running past Phnom Penh’s famous White Building, the Tiger’s Eye nevertheless retains a shadowed intimacy even through the chaos of a Cambodian lunch break. In the evening, its minimalist furnishings make anything from an after-work glass of red to a romantic tête-à-tête an act of urbane sophistication.
As we eat, Kim Sa said that what is lacking is systemic innovation, one of Cambodia’s best entrepreneurs who should not do something with a copy from others, so we should create everything is our own. Good.
“The beauty of Cambodia, and something that I think is probably sad also, is that not many people try to create original content here,” he says. “A lot of people try to copy-paste content from around the world and try and make it look local.”
According to Kimsa, it is only by taking risks and thinking in the longer term about the sustainability of their business model that beginner business owners can carve out their position in Cambodia’s flourishing economy.
“You have to think that way — then you can compete and sustain [yourself] in the market,” he says. “Otherwise, if you think too small, sometimes it can be so hard because when the company comes in, you’re going to be out of the game.”
“Anything related to young people has a chance to have success because people are going to grow along with your service or product.”
With such a young population — almost 30% of Cambodians are under 18 years of age — Kimsa is hopeful that the Kingdom’s rising middle class can provide a reliable customer base for entrepreneurs eager to make their mark.
“Anything related to young people has a chance to have success because people are going to grow along with your service or product,” he says.
Our next dish, prawn sous vide served with crab mousse and a mixture of cashews, coconut, and a traditional Thai Nam Prik sauce ($5), delivers a light and refreshing tang to offset the richness of the duck breast. By turns creamy and crisp as you move between the crab mousse and its smaller crustacean cousin. The dish gets prepared with a deftness of touch that lends itself beautifully to lighter meals.
Kimsa is frank in his appraisal of the cutthroat world of Cambodian business, punctuating his speech with pinpoint profanity as he skewers an errant prawn with his fork. For him, the key to survival seems simple: innovation or extinction. “If the consumer doesn’t consume a product because the product is poor, you have to move on — otherwise people will come in and do a better job and replace you,” he says. “That’s what I hope to see in the next few years — that copycat culture changing. But I don’t think it will be easy, because at the end of the day it’s about education, the level that you expose your mind to; that you dare to think further and are crazy enough to do something differently — I don’t see that much.”
Ultimately, he says, the next generation of Cambodian business leaders are going to have to make their own mistakes if they want to succeed — and that means showing the initiative that their competitors lack.
“As long as you have a community that follows you, you can move on because it is a stepping stone to get us there.”