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The Journey of the Secondhand Goods by SIDA

Updated on January 8, 2018

A story of the secondhand goods

Travelling in developing countries in Asia like Cambodia and Vietnam, you will notice they sell a lot of secondhand products. In Vietnam they use the term "hang si" to discribe this, when translated into English it becomes Si goods. The "Si" is abbriviated from SIDA-Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. SIDA's goods? Sounds weird and ridiculous. If they do charity, why not sending money directly.The story behind may hurt.

Why do they sell goods from SIDA?

The original purpose is for consumption, not trading. But no one can monitor the path of the goods once delivered to the local region. The major type of support is in cloth and accessory, and part of them are really quality and branded products. They are precious! People there are so poor that they don't really need to dress up, they want money. Take yourselves at their place and you may understand their action. Even old cloth are valuable in their countries. Because the middle and high class levle in the society really demand for them, especially with the lower price than usual.

Not everyone knows their path

The supply from SIDA can be regconized as the branded products which are sold below their original prices. By bringing them to the market for trade, the poors earn more money for their living, and the riches are more satisfied with less cost. But doing business is not that easy.

Not all accessories are valuabled. The "first sellers", who have access to the goods at the beginning, sell the goods in bulk. They are charged for each unit of weight. A price at this point is relatively low, but you can not know how much money you will earn from these packs, indeed. You may find some packs of goods are full of low valued items that buying them will cause loss to your business. It is really lucky to choose out profitable ones, because they bring you back a lot of money. A lot of people in the middle-class or even high-class demand for them. That's the reason why they need to build a network, setting up relationships. But in most cases, the merchant get qualified sources from the first seller.

After gathering enough resource, they travel back to their area and sell out. They can travel through the border to get their resources. For instance, people in the South of Vietnam will need to go to Phnom Penh to find the secondhand products. Because that is the nearest region to find them.

Articles refer to PhnomPenh Speed


An example

A really simply structured website for trading only in a small region.

Before going online they did business face to face, in the market- a market for this type of goods. You can regconize that the link looks like an ordinary cloth shop, indeed it is. To the people in those nation this is so normal. Not every body know what SIDA means, and if they do they are not likely to stop buying.

How they trade goods from SIDA in the market
How they trade goods from SIDA in the market

SIDA goods across the border

They took an example between Vietnam and Cambodia. Vietnam is not supported with SIDA goods, but Cambodia is. Vietnamese merchants regconize that even if they buy goods from Cambodia and resell them in Vietnam, the business is still profitable, highly indeed. They find their ways to Cambodia market, because the transportation cost is relatively low. Travelling from the border to the market takes only 6 hours by bus. You will be surprised to see there are a lot of Vietnamese settling in Cambodia, especially in the area near the markets. The merchant meets a lot of their countrymate here. Once they get the goods they need, taking them back to Vietnam is not a big problem. The law allows one person to take certain amount of goods across the border each day. But that is not to transfer these huge packs of cloths and accessories each lot. At the area around the borders, there is a serviced called transportation through the border. The law gives permission to each person, meaning that more people, more weight of goods can be transferred.

Secondhand shop in Cambodia

secondhand shop in Cambodia
secondhand shop in Cambodia

Old items, new value

Here are some words i recently had with a secondhand items shop owner.

Today, tonnes of young Cambodians are flocking in droves to second-hand shops for clothes, shoes, belts, bags and more.

Meas Kompheak, the manager of Number 1 Men’s Clothes Shop (branch three), said: “The number of customers who buy clothes [from this second-hand shop] is increasing, especially compared the past three years.”

Kompheak explained that the trend is on the rise due to the high quality of his shop’s second-hand items, especially imported shoes that would otherwise be too expensive.

He said the items in his store are imports from Korea and Japan that are suitably priced for Cambodian consumers.

“Even super stars are buying second-hand clothes from the shop,” Kompheak said.

Nip Piseth, a 21-year-old student and avid second-hand clothes consumer, said, “I like second-hand material because it’s good quality and usually lasts three or four years.”

“Also, I save money because it’s cheaper, but I can still buy quality items – just as good as new items that cost hundreds of dollars – and enjoy it.”

Piseth has been buying second-hand clothes for the past three years.

Second-hand items tend to be more varied and unique than new items – which also attracts the Cambodian youth demographic.

“Most second-hand clothes are good brand-names, such as Levi and Evisu,” said 23-year-old Meas Chamroeun. “If they were new it would be too expensive, so as a student I enjoy saving money by buying those brands second-hand.”

“Buying clothes second-hand is a better choice,” he added.

Chamroeun said that he can barely tell the difference in quality between new clothes and second-hand clothes.

With the popularity of second-hand items in the past three years, however, prices on the items are increasing.

Seang Meng Kheang, who’s been selling second-hand clothes at Central Market for four years, said, “Every year, the number of customers buying items such as shoes and belts increases.”

“At the same time, the number of shops selling second-hand items is increasing – and, prices at these shops are now more expensive than before,” he said.

Kheang added that second-hand stores now have to consider competition, and are looking to import second-hand items from developed countries in order to provide consumers with the best quality items possible.

According to Kheang, most second-hand shops are receiving their imported items from Korea, Hong Kong and sometimes Taiwan.

Kheng usually receives his shipments from businessmen in Poipet, where he chooses the best items available.

Buying second-hand clothes is a skyrocketing trend among today’s fashionable young Cambodians. To check out some great second-hand stores, have a look around BKK Market.

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