A delegation from Fujian, a province on the southeastern coast of China, is exploring business opportunities in Preah Sihanouk, a province where Chinese investment is pouring in.
Leading the Chinese delegation is Wei Zheng, deputy secretary-general of Fujian’s Federation of Enterprises and Entrepreneurs, who on Wednesday met with Cambodian Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh.
“We have visited Sihanoukville and we see great potential for investment there,” Mr Wei told the Cambodian minister.
Members of his delegation are mostly eying investments in electronics, mines and energy, infrastructure, and special economic zones, he noted.
Fujian’s gross domestic product reached 3.58 trillion yuan ($506.01 billion) last year, an increase of 8.3 percent year-on-year. The province ranks fifth across the nation in terms of economic growth.
Trade between the Chinese province and countries included in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) expanded by 10.6 percent in 2018.
Minister Cham Prasidh welcomed the delegation’s plan to invest and noted that the Kingdom has benefited greatly from BRI, a project that has boosted the number of Chinese companies interested in Cambodia.
“With partnership through BRI, Cambodia has become an attractive destination for Chinese investors. China ranked number one in terms of foreign direct investment in Cambodia in 2018 and it will be number one again this year,” he said.
According to figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia, FDI in Cambodia reached $6.4 billion last year. Chinese investors accounted for 53 percent of FDI.
Mr Prasidh said the government aims to transform Sihanoukville province into a multi-purpose special economic zone.
“The government has been working to improve infrastructure in the province. There are 34 projects of road expansion, worth a combined $150 million, that will begin soon,” he said, pointing out that construction for the 190-kilometre Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway is underway.
According to a recent report from Preah Sihanouk’s provincial administration, the province boasts five active special economic zones. Four more SEZs are slated to come online soon.
Key Real Estate Director Sorn Seap said Preah Sihanouk province is the main FDI destination in the country, followed by Phnom Penh.
“I think the main options for international developers continue to be Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, which have benefitted from the recent influx of tourists and Chinese investors,” he said, adding that the influx of FDI has caused land prices in the province to increase.