T HE Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) is about to launch a major international media campaign to promote investment.
The start of the drive is timed to coincide with the three-day World Economic Forum on Oct 12-14 in Singapore, to be attended by hundreds of top businessmen.
Full-page adverts trumpeting the Kingdom as a prime business opportunity are to be placed in a number of leading publications, including the International Herald Tribune, Time, Asian Wall Street Journal and The Economist.
The substance of the thrust is based around the passage of the Investment Law in August, which included a generous package of tax breaks.
Chanthol Sun, the CDC's secretary general described the law as a "breakthrough." He said: "We want to let the outside world know that Cambodia has a lot to offer the investor. We want to let it be known that our incentives are the most generous in the region, if not the world.
"We want to change Cambodia's image and create a whole new look, to leave the past behind for a bright new future."
The campaign - said by Chanthol to cost less than $1 million - has been approved by both Premiers. Prince Norodom Ranariddh, also the CDC's chairman, sees it as a way of countering the damage done to the country's image by reports on security problems.
It is being masterminded by the world's biggest advertising agency McCann Erikson, which this year set up an office in the capital. Chanthol refused to say what the content of the ads would be but promised a bold slogan which would "make people pay attention."
In addition to the media campaign, CDC executives are to tour the region to drive the message home at a series of seminars. They will include the showing of a new 10-minute CDC video to promote Cambodian culture and resources as well as highlight advantages for investors. The seminar tour will begin with a "networking breakfast" at the World Business Forum and will take in Seattle, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.
The CDC is particularly keen to encourage investment in light industry such as garments and electrical component assembly, tourism, agriculture and aquaculture.
Chanthol said that within 10 days of the Investment Law being passed, businessmen from Sing-apore, Taiwan and Malaysia had submitted plans for10 investment projects totalling $40 million.
The projects, sited around Phnom Penh, have now all been approved. They include a glove-making factory and beverage company, which may export as well as serve the Cambodian market.
A 14-strong business delegation which visited last month was also highly impressed by investment opportunities, said Chanthol.
Among the projects they were interested in starting was canning agricultural products and exporting soy beans.