A Chinese official yesterday said that the Chinese government recognises the importance of the seaport in Preah Sihanouk province as an economic hub of cooperation between China and Cambodia.
On the sidelines of a lecture to students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Zhou Hanmin, a standing member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said that “Cambodia is an important country located in the ‘21st century maritime Silk Road’, a significant project between the two governments”.
Mr Hanmin said leaders of both nations were optimistic over the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone.
“Currently, the economic contribution rate of the SSEZ’s industrial output value to Sihanoukville has exceeded 50 percent,” Mr Hanmin said. “Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s strongest economic province and Prime Minister Hun Sen has dubbed the province as the ‘dragon’s head’ of Cambodia’s economic lifeline.”
Y Sokleng, Sihanoukville governor, said that there should be no discrimination when it comes to development while acknowledging that there are tensions between Chinese nationals and Cambodians.
“We want foreigners regardless of their nationality to come to invest in our country,” said Mr Soklong. “Chinese investors think Sihanoukville is economically favourable.”
Mr Soklong said that it’s evident that Chinese investments have increased the national economic output.
“If you want to see if the port is busier or not, just take a look along National Road 4,” he said. “Before it was a quiet road, but now you see container trucks constantly on the road.”
According to a statement by the Council for the Development of Cambodia on Tuesday, increasing Chinese investment and capital reflected the confidence and trust of investors in Cambodia.
From 2013 to 2017, China was the biggest investor and biggest resource of investment capital in Cambodia. Chinese investors put $5.3 billion in key sectors of the Cambodian economy, including the banking and industrial sectors as well as infrastructure.
In 2017, Cambodia registered 183 investment projects with $6.3 billion of investment capital which increased 75 percent compared with 2016.
For the first three month of this year, the CDC decided to allow Chinese firms to implement 63 new projects and expand three existing projects with $400 million of capital.