Baosteel Can Making (Cambodia) Co Ltd plans to build a $50.7 million can factory in east-central Kampong Speu to cash in on the burgeoning Cambodian beverage industry.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on June 17 stated in a notice that it had approved the project, which it said would be located in Kraing Leav village, Sambou commune, Samrong Tong district, and expected to generate 155 jobs.

The Ministry of Commerce’s business registry shows that Baosteel Can Making Cambodia was incorporated in November, and lists “Zhu Weilai” as the sole director and chairman, with an address in Shanghai, China.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on June 19 that there is high demand in the Kingdom for empty cans, as more producers look to the cylindrical metallic containers as packaging options for their finished products, to not only ensure quality but also to gain consumers’ confidence in their goods.

He posited that the new facility would not only satisfy domestic demand, but also help curb imports and attract more investments.

“This is fantastic news, since Cambodia is currently in short supply of empty cans, and not just these metal containers, but also plastic jars for packaging agricultural products, especially fruits, peanuts and cashew nuts.

“Investing in the domestic production of these empty cans will not only reduce costs but also boost Cambodia’s exports,” Heng said, underscoring that each new project would create more jobs for locals.

Baosteel Can Making Cambodia’s project comes nearly 13 months after the General Department of Customs and Excise announced that import controls on empty aluminium beverage cans would be tightened to promote domestic production.

In Lai Huot, owner of Kampong Thom-based Chey Sambor Cashew Nut Processing Handicrafts, stressed that product packaging is paramount to fostering trust among targeted audiences and building brand recognition and awareness, especially when it comes to exports.

Without the proper considerations, it may be impossible to export products to certain markets, she said, sharing that her business ships cashew nuts to Japan every month.

“Domestic production of empty cans will give business owners more opportunities, and in particular, make them cheaper than imports,” Lai Huot added.

For reference, there are currently 13 registered operators of breweries or beverage plants in the Kingdom, data from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation show.

These are Inter-Mattrid Beverage (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Hanuman Beverages Co Ltd, Vattanac Brewery Co Ltd, Ana Water and Smiler Beverage Co Ltd, Asian Sunrise Co Ltd, Heineken (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Cambrew Ltd, Daun Penh Food and Beverage Co Ltd, Khmer Beverage Co Ltd, Far East Import Export Co Ltd, Kingdom Breweries (Cambodia) Ltd, Media GB Enterprise Co Ltd, and Phnom Penh Beer Co Ltd.