Cambodia’s coastal Preah Sihanouk province has attracted construction project investment valued at more than $7 billion over the last four years – most from Chinese nationals – the provincial administration said yesterday.
From 2017 to May 2020, approximately 1,355 construction projects were approved, occupying 13,107,209 square meters and valued at $7,099,417,227.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Governor, Kuoch Chamroeun, said foreign direct investment in the province has mostly come from China, noting that Sihanoukville residents were half Chinese before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Only 15,000 Chinese national now live in the city.
Many Chinese left after a directive banning all online and arcade gambling in the Kingdom last August and it took effect since Jan 1.
“The rapid and dramatic rise of investment was heavily criticised because it was dominated by Chinese national investors,” said the governor.
“I would like to remark that according to our investment laws, this is not determined or destined for just Chinese investors.
“Our law investment is widely and equally open to all foreign investors.
“We want every nation to invest in our country, particularly Sihanoukville,” he pointed out that every investor is controlled under the local law. He said the influx of Chinese investment has not just happened here in Cambodia.
“Undoubtedly, some developed countries and even our some neighbouring countries have a lot of Chinese investors, Chinese towns and Chinese community’s,” he added.
Sihanoikville is strategically located only 230 kilometres from the capital.
The national government is now aiming to transform the coastal province into a main economic pole or a multi-investment hub. naming it as a rising star in the southwest of the Kingdom.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the coastal province is now seeing development by investors of various nationalities.
“Our main purpose is to establish Preah Sihanouk province as a multiple-investment hub,” he said, adding that Sihanoukville has developed its water, land and air transportation systems and has become a transport hub for connectivity, while it boasts two industrial parks.
From being just a well-known tourism site, Mr Hun Sen said he city will become an International financial centre in the future. “This is our dream and we hope the younger generation will continue this vision.”
Chrek Soknim, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association, said that Sihanoukville has become the main popular destination for foreign investors and where it has seen a rapid increase of investment in the city over the last four years.
He noted that European investors were once the largest investors, but the recent inflow of Chinese investment has significantly increased in the last three years. He said Chinese mostly invested in hotels, condominiums and restaurants.