Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - For Chinese, it's business as usual

For Chinese, it's business as usual

For Chinese, it's business as usual

090123_15.jpg
090123_15.jpg

When it comes to future of economic relations between Cambodia and China, things look as good as they always have been; so despite a general downtown, expect business as usual.

Photo by:

Sovann Philong

A vendor at O'Russei Market displays Lunar New Year-themed good on Thursday.

CHINESE business has traditionally driven the Cambodian economy for centuries, but as the global economy continues to fall into decline - even hitting recently booming China - Cambodia is looking to the mainland for continued strong trade and investment.

Kang Chandararot, president of the Cambodia Institute for Development Study, told the Post Thursday that Chinese investment in the Kingdom still looked to be strong for the coming Year of the Ox, and beyond.

"Due to the crisis in China and the rest of the world, Chinese investment will remain stable or grow more slowly because [the Chinese] are short of capital investment, but things are fine. It will be good for us," he said.

Cambodia has initiated a policy of offering long-term economic concessions to foreign investors - particularly tax breaks - that have proved highly attractive to Chinese companies on the mainland. Other factors have also helped smooth the way for economic ties between the two countries, most importantly the high number of Chinese-Cambodians already residing in the Kingdom and the close diplomatic ties enjoyed between Phnom Penh and Beijing. These are factors that won't be affected by an economic downturn, no matter how bad things get, analysts say, given the high level of cooperation past and present.

"We have never seen discrimination between the two races. We live, run businesses and work together thus far without dispute," said Eak Sheng, assistant director of the Chinese Association in Phnom Penh. "We have been living in harmony in the country, and the relationship will continue forwards."

Eak Sheng's prediction for future economic integration between Cambodia and China appears to be well-founded.

More than 30,000 Cambodian-Chinese students are studying in Cambodian schools nationwide, and an ever-increasing number of people in Cambodia are learning Mandarin, the official language of the mainland - a trend that will almost certainly see English and French relegated to the third- and fourth-choice languages respectively used in the Kingdom.

Looking back at the history of China's economic influence in the country, Ros Chantrabot, vice president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, a body that researches Cambodian culture, says he also sees a healthy future cooperation between the two countries.

"The Sino-Chinese community has a clear influence in business and trade, buying and selling. Some also play a prominent role in [Cambodian] politics," he said.

Again, the figures speak for themselves: Ros Chantrabot notes that close to 70 percent of all businesses in Cambodia are run by people of Chinese ancestry. China has traditionally fuelled the Cambodian economy, and that is unlikely to change in the future.

So, while China also feels the squeeze of the global financial crisis, Cambodia can take heart from the fact that the mainland's economy remains one of the most robust in the world, and with Beijing offering a further US$300 million of concessionary loans to Cambodia in 2009, strong cooperation in the future is practically assured. 

MOST VIEWED

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by