China recently opened a consular office in Siem Reap, a facility that will play a vital role in China’s ambitious One Belt One Road Initiative, according to a senior Cambodian official.
Senior Minister Ly Thuch, speaking during the opening ceremony of the new Chinese consulate in Siem Reap, said that the One Belt One Road Initiative, also known as The Belt and Road Initiative or BRI, is a major driver of sustainable development and globalisation around the world.
“The project will bring the economic integration of Asia, Europe and Africa through closer relations in trade, investment and construction,” Mr Thuch said.
As part of BRI, China has been building a deep-water port and an international airport in Koh Kong province’s Borei Sakor district, Mr. Thuch said, adding that it plans to invest in the construction of a major airport in Siem Reap, as well as a major expressway connecting the capital to Sihanoukville, amid other projects to support local infrastructure.
Cambodia has recently been upgraded to a lower-middle income economy by the World Bank and is considered one of Asia’s new tiger economy thanks to an economy that has grown by 7.7 percent during the last two decades, he added.
Guoyou Song, professor at Fudan University and director of the Centre of Economic Diplomacy in China, said recently that Cambodia’s strategic location make it one the most attractive destinations for Chinese investment, with the number of Chinese companies realising this on the rise.
Mr Song said that during the last three years bilateral trade and Chinese investment flowing into the kingdom have increased remarkably.
Chinese FDI into Cambodia was valued at $5.1 billion last year, according to Mr Song. Meanwhile, Chinese investment during the first nine months of the year grew 80 percent compared to the same period last year.
“Cambodia is a good place to invest and has many advantages, including solid economic growth and political stability,” Mr Song said.
Cambodia welcomed 900,000 Chinese tourists last year. The government forecasts that the kingdom will receive seven million foreign tourists by the year 2020, with two million of them coming from mainland China.