The Mekong Tech Conference: Enrolling Young Cambodians into Building a Digital Society

Leang Chorlida, who is co-director of the Mekong Tech Conference and Expo, explained during an interview her project and plans to reach young people and boost tech and digital knowledge in the country. Photo provided

Over the last years, Cambodia has seen growth in the use of technology to foster development. However, to sustain this growth, Cambodia needs to bridge the digital-skill gap and ensure digital readiness among its population. As a young Cambodian, Leng Chorlida strongly believes in familiarizing more young Cambodians with tech through tech expos and festivals that tend to be more accessible to people in general and especially youth. Chorlida, who is co-director of the Mekong Tech Conference and Expo, explained during an interview her project and plans to reach young people and boost tech and digital knowledge in the country. 

Sao Phal Niseiy: You and your team will hold the Mekong Tech Conference and Expo in December 2023. What prompted you and your team to organise this event? And why tech?

Leng Chorlida: The Mekong Tech Conference and Expo will be held…on Dec. 9 and 10 from 8:30 am onward at the Olympia Mall (ground floor) by TIPSA in partnership with the Institute of Digital Governance, the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology and with support from many public and private institutions. Why a tech event? We think that the COVID-19 epidemic made evident how technology connects us during tough times, speeds up electronic commerce and payments, and opens us to a new way of living. To be specific, our team sees a gap, access to information about artificial intelligence (AI) application in expert fields, which is missing. For instance, software is used to detect plagiarism while other AI models coming up may hide it. This is just one quick example, and there are more AI and current technological usages that will be addressed by speakers during the event.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Please tell us about the event.

Leng Chorlida: The Mekong Tech Conference and Expo has two key features: the conference and seminars, and then the expo. The conferences are open-style panel discussions during which the event facilitator will ask questions with specific time given to the speakers to address them based on their work and expertise. [Topics will range from] which AI [programs] are available and how AI is used, to hurdles and advantages, and so on. Participants will be invited to ask questions to speakers at the end of each session. The seminars will be sessions during which each speaker share with participants. This year, speakers are from biotech, agritech, smart homes, smart automation, architecture, analytics, blockchain, innovation, content creation, family and health care, phone technology, digital governance, and public sector. In addition, the expo is a platform for showing examples of innovation, products, and services.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Many themes related to technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), are featured during the two-day event, and many prominent experts in the industry will be sharing their ideas and knowledge. What impact does this festival have on fostering technological awareness and innovation?

Leng Chorlida: The Mekong Tech Conference and Expo aims to contribute to the technological and innovative movement in Cambodia. We want to increase awareness about AI in studies, work, society, and the country’s development. In our generation, we do not want to be unprepared for the technological waves that impact our current and future education, employment, or job creation. We see young, enthusiastic and capable students, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs who, if they had more information about technological tools and updates, would see their productivity increase and contribute to solving more issues in our society. This event intends to fill in such gaps by addressing what AI is available now and what next to look into in various expert fields as described.

Sao Phal Niseiy: Who should go to this event? What can they expect to gain from their participation, and how can they attend the event?  

Leng Chorlida: We strongly believe that the Mekong Tech Conference and Expo on Dec. 9 and 10 are for everyone who wants to understand and use technology in their daily communication, studies or work, such as students, teachers, employees, employers, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and the public. Participants will gain additional knowledge and information about AI in specialized fields discussed by the speakers. We also have fun activities at the expo so that people can enjoy themselves and get information at the same time.

For the conference and seminar, participants can buy tickets online and offline. Participants will receive the event materials sent to [them] when they purchase conference tickets. One can buy tickets online via this link: Or people can contact our team at the phone numbers 081-832-223 and 069-518-668. For the expo, it is free admission. We have Smart and HONOR as our diamond sponsors, and Canadia Bank, Brown Coffee and Bakery, and Watch Empire as our gold sponsors. Our sponsors will showcase various technology products and their new inventions along with fun games and freebies.

Sao Phal Niseiy: After this tech event, what will your next plan and long-term vision be to boost technological knowledge among Cambodians?

Leng Chorlida: We have Project Bassac 1.0 during which key experts will work together to identify the most important issues and prompt efforts to find innovative solutions within a year through support and funding from potential/related institutions after the two-day Conference and Expo in order to serve the best way our society and people. This solution can be a divide, a program/software, or an application for public use. Within five years, the Mekong Tech Conference and Expo will be a 3-day tech festival held in cooperation with local tech and field experts, regional and global tech communities to better serve the needs of people in Cambodia and the region. We envision that this event is a gateway to tech and innovative information, networking, collaboration, a community for everyone who has ideas and wants to create useful things to build a better society.

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