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Chinese own more than 90% of Sihanoukville businesses, says report

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Out of the 62 casinos in Preah Sihanouk province, 48 are invested in by Chinese nationals, according to provincial police chief Chuon Narin. Heng Chivoan

Chinese own more than 90% of Sihanoukville businesses, says report

Chinese nationals own more than 90 per cent of businesses in Sihanoukville, ranging from hotels, casinos, restaurants to massage parlours, according to a report from Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities.

Speaking during a meeting on sustainable work and strengthening security and public order in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday, provincial police chief Chuon Narin said the province has received a lot of investment from foreigners, especially the Chinese.

The province is rapidly growing in all areas such as hotels, guesthouses, casinos, restaurants, and other businesses, he said.

According to Narin, there are currently 156 hotels and guesthouses in Preah Sihanouk province, of which 150 are Chinese-owned. There are 62 casinos, of which 48 are invested in by the Chinese.

He said there are 41 karaoke clubs and 46 massage parlours owned by the Chinese as well. Of the total 436 restaurants in the province, 95 per cent are managed by Chinese nationals.

Pacific Asia Travel Association president Thourn Sinan told The Post on Monday that no market should be more than half invested in by investors from a single country.

“I believe it is good if investments are multinational. Investors from one country should not exceed 50 per cent [investment in one market] because it will lose balance in development and in the market."

“Investors from one country taking control of such large investments will have more negative effects than positive,” he said.

Investment growth and the influx of Chinese in Preah Sihanouk province will bring challenges to the Kingdom such as losing national identity, employment opportunities for locals, cash flow and the environment, as well as social security problems, said Sinan.

For the province’s development to be sustainable, strengthening the legal system is an important task, he said, adding that the recent collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville exposed a big loophole in the system.

Since the influx of Chinese investors and tourists to Sihanoukville, locals have benefitted from real estate transactions and renting to investors.

Land price data from Key Real Estate Co Ltd, obtained by The Post on Monday, shows that land prices in central Sihanoukville have risen by about 100 per cent compared to the end of last year.

Key Real Estate director Sorn Seap said the influx of Chinese had caused the economy and the real estate and construction sectors in Preah Sihanouk province to grow faster than expected.

“Economic strength is dependent on the number of people. When the population is higher, the economy grows accordingly,” said Seap, adding that every investment has more positives than negatives.

The large influx of Chinese has brought many construction projects to Sihanoukville. And this will bring more Chinese to the Kingdom, he said.

“With the arrival of the Chinese, we can also cooperate with them and jointly invest.”