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Combi plans $1.5m factory for baby goods

CONSTRUCTION is progressing on a $1.5 million baby-products factory that will be among the largest in the Phnom Penh Special Econ-omic Zone (PPSEZ).

Combi (Cambodia), which owns the factory, announced the plans for its new facility in an online job listing yesterday.

The five-hectare factory was scheduled to open in January next year, So Somara, the company’s human-resources off-icer, told the Post.

According to a map on the PPSEZ website, only five other companies of the more than 60 operating in the PPSEZ have been allocated land of that size or bigger for their activities.

Combi’s parent company, the Japan-based Combi Corporation, is listed on the Tokyo stock exchange and makes a range of baby products.

The group has been looking for some time to move part of its operations — the manufact-uring of plastic toys and strollers — to Cambodia.

Since 2011, the company has been operating in the PPSEZ on land rented from a Japan-ese company.

Operations at this temporary factory had shown that the company’s production plan could be supported here, making a larger, permanent facility viable, So said.

Combi had two factories in China, but manpower costs there were higher, and workers could easily switch to another job that was nearer to their homes or suited them better, he said.

The temporary factory in the PPSEZ employs 200 workers, and the permanent one will require 300 more staff.

The products it made were for export, as Combi did not have a licence from the Cambodian government to sell domestically, So  said.

He declined to say if his company intended to apply for it.

One challenge of operating here is the risk of strikes. Once the factory was operating, a union would be formed to represent the workers, as required by labour laws, So said.

“We will follow the law in everything we do, but the union may ask us for more money,” he said.

Combi has stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US, and its products are sold in Lucky department stores here.

According to the Combi USA website, the company’s name is derived from “combination”, referring to the combination of mother and child.

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