Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Xi pushing further Preah Sihanouk investment’

‘Xi pushing further Preah Sihanouk investment’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Chinese official has revealed plans for further investment in Preah Sihanouk province. POST STAFF

‘Xi pushing further Preah Sihanouk investment’

As China continues to invest in Preah Sihanouk province, despite fears raised by residents over the recent influx of its nationals, an official from the Asian giant on Monday said President Xi Jinping is pushing for further investment in the coastal area.

“Cambodia and China are good friends and good neighbours. Jiangsu is a Chinese province [and] we are pushing for more cooperation with Cambodia,” Huang Xiqiang, the deputy director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, told visiting Cambodian journalists to the southern Chinese province on Monday.

“President Xi Jinping regards [Preah Sihanouk province] as a role model of cooperation between China and Cambodia.”

Preah Sihanouk has seen huge growth in the manufacturing, tourism and gambling sectors, and a local real estate agency director said further investment in manufacturing would “help transform Cambodia from an agricultural to an industrialised nation”.

Bilateral trade between Jiangsu and Preah Sihanouk, which have just signed an agreement to become sister provinces, was valued at $1.2 billion last year. This is equal to one-fifth of China’s total trade with Cambodia and is expected to increase 30 per cent this year, Huang said.

Jiangsu province accounts for 10.38 per cent of China’s total economy, with its GDP hitting $1.2 trillion last year.

Preah Sihanouk province has increasingly become a hotbed for Chinese investment in the Kingdom, and its geography has proven strategic in pushing Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia.

“We encourage enterprises to invest in Cambodian production, from resources and labour to technology,” Huang said. “In the past, [investment] was more focused on garment manufacturing. In the future, we will cooperate in technology. This is a win-win strategy.”

Huang said the Preah Sihanouk Special Economic Zone has 125 enterprises and has created 21,000 jobs with $500 million in investments. He said the zone plans to create between 80,000 to 100,000 jobs.

Emerging Markets Consulting senior consultant Ngeth Chou said he welcomed an increase in investment in Preah Sihanouk province’s manufacturing, which he said would largely benefit the Kingdom.

He added that investment in the sector would help Cambodians acquire new skills and stable incomes, as opposed to growth in the gaming industry, which has been blamed for causing social problems.

“Casinos do not offer as many economic benefits as the manufacturing sector, because investment in factories could help Cambodia benefit greatly, from the use of local raw materials to [the creation of] a skilled workforce, as well as reduce migration.”

However, Chou suggested that for sustainable development, the Cambodian government must also create mechanisms to control the nature of investment, such as insisting on the use of local human resources and raw materials.

Key Real Estate director Sorn Seap said that while the influx of Chinese has raised property prices in Preah Sihanouk, more investment in manufacturing would help create new jobs and technology for the future development of Cambodia.

“It will help transform Cambodia from an agricultural to an industrialised nation, and promote the Kingdom’s image on the international stage,” Seap said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min, who visited Jiangsu province last week to strengthen city-level relations, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Jiangsu provincial statistics showed that 200,000 of its residents visited Cambodia in 2016.

The increase of tourists led to direct flights between Jiangsu and Cambodia’s international airports, Huang said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials