Thirty-five companies from Japan explored business and investment opportunities in Cambodia yesterday, in what experts said was a search for relief from disaster at home and in Thailand.
Banking, financial and industrial business leaders from companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi had met with Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) chairman Kith Meng and local businesses, CCC director-general Nguon Meng Tech said.
“[Japanese companies] want to know more about the climate for business opportunities because they want to expand investment and business co-operation between the two countries,” Nguon Meng Tech said, adding that some companies had enquired about Cambodia’s milled-rice export policy.
According to Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between the two countries rose by 57 per cent year-on-year during the first six months of this year, hitting US$130 million from $83 million last year.
Total Japanese investment in Cambodia is projected to double between 2011 and 2012, according to the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
Japanese companies have been hit hard by natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.
According to Yuji Imamura, an expert with JICA, these companies now see Cambodia as a viable risk-management option.
“Japanese manufactures are now widening their production locations in order to hedge risks according to supply chain management,” he said in an email yesterday.
Japanese retailers are also eyeing the Kingdom. AEON, Japan’s biggest retailer, has announced a $150 million investment to construct a shopping centre in Phom Penh, according to Imamura. The centre is expected to open in early 2014.