Chinese direct investment in Cambodia reached $860 million in the first 11 months of last year, up 70 per cent from the same period in 2019, the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh said on January 1.
The embassy said major Chinese investment projects in the Kingdom have stayed their courses, sidestepping the brunt of Covid-19.
Construction of the 190km Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which the embassy listed as the most important and costly Chinese-invested project, is around 39 per cent complete.
The road is backed by $1.9 billion in capital invested by China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) through Cambodian Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway Co Ltd and is scheduled for completion in early 2023, it said.
With its terminal building having broken ground recently, it said the new Siem Reap international airport will cost Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) nearly $900 million.
The bulk of the direct investment went to construction, garments, electric and electronic components and agriculture, according to the ministry.
Cambodia Constructors Association general manager Chiv Sivpheng said the number of Chinese entities investing in the Kingdom has been on a years-long ascent, which has largely driven the construction sector – a lynchpin of national economic growth – over the past few years.
He said: “Chinese investment in the construction sector has been on the rise, especially in large-scale building construction projects.
“I hope that after Covid-19 ends, more Chinese will come and invest in Cambodia.”
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that the Kingdom’s overall peace, political stability and seven per cent average annual economic growth have attracted many international investors.
And with the recent signing of the Cambodia-China Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he expressed optimism that more investors from China, Europe and the US would venture into the Kingdom.
“In recent years, Chinese investors have increased investment in the construction, garment, electric and electronic components and agro-industries, and I believe there will be further growth through the trade agreements,” Heng said.
At the China-ASEAN Business Leaders’ Forum held in Nanning, Guangxi province, China in 2019, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the flow of Chinese capital investment to Cambodia has continued to increase annually, clocking in at about $3.5 billion in 2018 alone.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and China was worth $9.42 billion in 2019, up 27.29 per cent from $7.4 billion in 2018, according to the embassy.