Last year saw a notable increase in the number of factory openings, with 178 new plants coming online, 28 more than in 2017, according to the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts.
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Despite the increase in openings, the total workforce employed in the sector shrank slightly, with Ministry of Industry Cham Prasidh saying the decrease is the result of high-skilled workers replacing low-skilled labour.
Speaking at the ministry’s annual meeting Tuesday, the minister said the rise in openings was enabled by a better registration process put in place by the ministry.
“In addition, we strengthened implementation of the law on factory management, focusing mainly on factory inspections to help owners follow regulation and standards,” Mr Prasidh said.
Mr Prasidh said the total number of factories running in the country reached 1,528 at the end of last year, with the number of plants in which high value-added products are manufactured also on the rise.
Currently, 65 percent of all factories in the Kingdom produce textile products, the minister said.
The sector now employs 973,130 people, he added.
Cambodian factories generated $13.17 billion in revenue last year, a 23 percent increase compared to a year earlier. $3.33 billion worth of products were consumed domestically (a 27 percent increase year-on-year), while $8.27 billion in goods produced in local plants were exported, a 17 percent increase.
Aun Pornmoniroth, the Minister of Economy, said the industrial sector now accounts for 32.8 percent of GDP, adding that it has become a major force behind the country’s rapid economic growth and that it has aided the development of other sectors, particularly banking, logistics, and tourism.
A notable development in the industry, he pointed out, is the diversification of production. Compared to previous years, the share of garments as a percentage of total production has decreased, while production of more complex products, such as electronics and spare parts, has increased.
“We have been reducing imports by producing more products domestically, particularly building materials, beverages, auto parts, and processed agricultural products.”
Ngoun Meng Tech, director-general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the investment environment is improving every year, attracting more money from abroad for factory projects here.
“More factories opened because investor confidence is increasing due to a better investment environment. The support of the government has been critical in attracting more investors,” Mr Meng Tech said.