Models pose beside a Rolls-Royce Wraith during the inauguration of its official dealership in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Monday. (AP Photo)
Fabled luxury car maker Rolls-Royce will soon be marketing its goods in one of the world's poorest countries: Cambodia.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced Monday that it has joined with a Cambodian business partner to open a showroom in the Cambodian capital next month.
Rolls-Royce Asia-Pacific regional manager Paul Harris said his company signed a deal with HGB Group Co Ltd because it believed demand would grow along with Cambodia's economy.
Cambodia's average per capita annual income, according to the World Bank, is just over $1,000, a bit less than one-half of 1% of the cost of the cheapest Rolls-Royce.
However, a small but wealthy elite lives in the capital of the mostly rural nation, and it is not unusual to see various models of high-end Lexus automobiles passing by pedicabs in the city's dusty streets.
Harris said five Rolls-Royces have been sold in Cambodia since 2005.
"Nobody would believe that such a luxury car would come to Cambodia," said minister for industry and handcrafts Cham Prasidh, who was present for the announcement.
Cheaper Japanese models still dominate the market, but the upgrading of roads - which had suffered from war and neglect - and the rise in people's living standards mean other car manufacturers from various countries are now entering the Cambodian market, he said.