Japanese construction investment approvals are ranked third this year, behind China and Korea, accounting for $108 million in approved projects, according to Im Chhun Lim, minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.
Speaking at the launch of Toyoko Inn Phnom Penh, a new Japanese hotel in the capital, Lim said that of the 32 registered Japanese construction companies in Cambodia, 23 had acquired licenses to conduct building activities.
“Japanese private investment in Cambodia demonstrates the confidence in the Cambodian government, also reflecting the reality of economic stability and development,” he said.
The $108 million in approved investments has resulted in over 354,000 square metres of construction across the country, he added.
Japanese investments in general, he said, have been spearheaded by companies like Minebea, Sunrise Health Care Services and Aeon among others.
Cheng Kheng, president of CPL Cambodia Properties Limited, said it was an encouraging sign that Japanese investors were looking at long-term investments in the Kingdom.
“I see with Japanese investors that when they do one thing, they have a detailed study, and are very careful, unlike Korean investments,” Kheng said.
Maiko Kuroda, CEO of Toyoko Inn Group, said the new hotel was a $10 million investment, excluding the land purchase, and has 329 rooms to accommodate guests.
“Toyoko Inn is not 4 or 5 star hotel, but an economic hotel chain, which is focusing on reasonable prices and living standards expectations of people all over the world,” she said.
According to a survey by Japanese External Trade Organization, 80 per cent of Japanese businesses present in the Kingdom said they expected to grow their operation in 2015.
Looking at the Kingdom’s neighbours, 66 per cent of respondents in Vietnam said they would increase their local operations, with the number reaching 64.7 per cent in Myanmar.
At the same time 80 per cent of respondents were skeptical of wage hikes, 79 per cent expected issues procuring raw materials, with 47 per cent asking for better customs clearance procedures.
Apart from private investments, the Japanese government has also been upping its footprint in Cambodia.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged a $160 million soft loan in March to improve National Road 5, which connects Phnom Penh to the Thai border.