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China Developer Eyes Satellite City

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
Pressure from Phnom Penh’s fast-growing population is forcing real estate prices in the city to skyrocket. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The property behemoth in Phnom Penh has attracted a top China-based developer, Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd, which seems keen to invest in the building of a modern satellite city that can accommodate two million people in the Kingdom.
 
Yang Guoqiang, Chairman of Country Garden Holdings, was in Phnom Penh last week and revealed at a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen that his company was willing to take the lead in investing in the satellite city project.
 
Eang Sophalleth, assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting that, “Mr. Yang informed the prime minister that this was his first trip to the country to carry out an investment feasibility study for the construction of the satellite city which will have all modern amenities.”
 
Country Garden Holdings with a capital of $5 billion is one of China’s top 10 developers and its first overseas venture outside the mainland, in 2014, was the development of the Country Garden Danga Bay satellite city in Malaysia’s Johor state opposite Singapore, with the support of the Malaysian government. More than 6,000 residents all over the world have made their home in Danga Bay, and the satellite city to Johor’s capital Johore Baru can accommodate close to two million people.
 
Mr. Yang expressed his desire to build a similar satellite city in the Kingdom that could hold a population of at least two million people at any one time, said Mr. Sophalleth.
 
“In this regard he asked for recommendations from the prime minister to examine the possibility of building something similar [a satellite city] in Cambodia to help ease [Phnom Penh’s] traffic congestion and also provide city dwellers with the latest modern amenities,” he added.
 
In response, Mr. Sophalleth said, Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomed the investment research from the company and recommended that studies be done before drawing up a master plan to determine which areas can be in the new city plan and which areas have to be excluded.
 
Pressure from Phnom Penh’s burgeoning population is forcing real estate prices in the city to skyrocket, say analysts. This, they say, is causing many to live in cramped conditions or move out to poorly developed peri-urban areas where the fringe of the city meets rural areas.
 
Chrek Soknim, CEO of the Century 21 Mekong property company urged the speedy development of more satellite cities to ease the pressure on the capital.
 
“Phnom Penh city is getting more crowded due to the increasing inflow of people who come to work in the city, so satellite cities will play a vital role to alleviate the problem,” Mr. Soknim said.
 
“We have to have more satellite cities that can help handle traffic congestion and give people a better quality of life,” he said.
 
More than two million people live in the capital, up from 1.6 million just three years ago, according to the latest figures from the Phnom Penh Municipality.
 
Investment in the construction sector reached about $1.67 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with the approval of 473 construction projects. This translates to a total of 3.7 million square meters, according to the data from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction. In the first quarter of the year, investment in construction projects saw a phenomenal increase of 257.51 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the ministry’s figures.

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