Bordering Thailand and home to the flow of trade and tourism, Poipet has become an important commercial and strategic region in recent times. And as the government plans to develop the region into an industrial zone, its potential is growing.
Sung Bonna, CEO of Bonna Realty Group, stated that in terms of economic zones, the Poipet gateway has the most potential of all the international bilateral borders, as it attracts both tourists and commerce.
He added that the government is eyeing this region as a major economic and industrial zone for the exchange of merchandise, with the aim to greatly develop it in the future.
“In terms of land pricing, Poipet plots cost the highest of all those along other bilateral borders,” he said. “Land on the main roads in Poipet is priced between $500 and $1,000 per square metre. Residential land costs between $100 and $500 per square metre and industrial land sells between $50 and $100 per square metre.”
He went on to point out that Poipet is linked with Kon Domrey and Phnom Preuk regions, Phnom Preuk district, and Banteay Meanchey province, thus making the city even more active.
According to Ngoa Meng Chruon, governor of Poipet, the city counts about 150,000 inhabitants, and the number of people who have been moving to this city has gradually increased in recent years.
However, Po Eavkong, CEO of Asia Real Estate does not believe that Poipet has been developing at such a fast pace. Eavkong stated that in terms of urban development trends, the change has been relatively slow.
He pointed out that there has only been a slow trickle of new factories and enterprises being built in the area, which has, in turn, increased the land price in the city centre.
He added that the price has increased between 5 per cent and 10 per cent this year, compared to the same period last year. But on the outskirts of the city centre, land prices have remained relatively stable, as it is too far from the centre of commerce and industrial zones.
“It is promising that the government is planning to set up this region as an industrial zone. Yet, without concrete plans and policies, the scale of the development would not go that fast,” he explained.
“Cambodia needs a specialised workforce, infrastructure and locations, which investors will take into account. With poor infrastructure, they would turn to Thailand, which is better off.”
Sroy Thida, a local developer and owner of some Sok Sreng Borey developments in Poipet, said that she has suspended construction on her projects as she has not been able to sell off the units.
This is primarily due to locals in Poipet, who run small businesses at the Rong Kloeu Market in Thai territories and do not earn enough money to afford the units that are for sale, thus leaving developers without demand.
She went on to say that even though the flats do not sell well, split plots have been found to be attractive and sell well. She does not ask for interest from customers – they can pay by installment from only $50 to $100 every month – whilst each plot sells at $2,500 to $5,000.
Thida is aware of the government’s plans to set the city up as an industrial zone, saying that “this will attract more factories and enterprises to operate in this region, and thanks to commerce, merchandise exchange, casinos and tourists in transit, this region has attracted a greater number of people who have moved here.”
Heng Sokkong, secretary of state for the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, affirmed that the government is planning to set up this region as an economic and industrial zone.
Currently, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) is studying a plan to develop it, but he did not provide details of when this study will be completed. He added that the government is planning to turn an area along National Road 5 into an economic zone and park, in order to benefit from the merchandise transportation from Thailand, through Cambodia to Vietnam, as this access route represents the southern gateway for regional logistics.
“The government is not going to be the developer of the region. It is the private sector that will be in charge. We will only play the role of coordinating legal procedures and policies and developmental guidance,” he said.