The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved final registration certificates for a diverse batch of nine new investment projects worth a cumulative $54.8 million that are expected to create a total of 13,849 jobs, according to a June 26 notice.
Two of these ventures are located in separate special economic zones (SEZ) of Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town near the Vietnamese border.
The two totals – for investment capital and jobs expected to be created – were calculated by The Post using statistics that were provided individually. The actual figures may differ due to rounding.
In the notice, the CDC – the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments – said Kitchen Brights (Cambodia) Industrial Co Ltd’s $9.7 million kitchen wares factory in Kampong Speu province’s Samrong Tong district is slated to deliver 1,414 new jobs.
Moving southeast to Kampong Speu’s Kong Pisei district, Yangjie Outdoor Manufacturing (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s bag factory and XJX Industrial Co Ltd’s garment, footwear and bag accessories plant – each valued at $5.2 million – are planned to generate 1,531 and 485 jobs.
Fresh Source International (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s $6 million lamp factory in western Takeo province’s Tram Kak district and Cambodian Xin Huang Ming Garment Co Ltd’s $5.1 million garment factory in Cana City Industrial Park of western Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district are poised to bring 465 and 1,141 jobs.
L&G Packaging Materials Co Ltd’s padding and packing paper plant in western Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district and Optima Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s garment factory in northern Takeo’s Bati district – each worth $5.1 million – are set to provide 647 and 1,226 jobs.
The Bavet SEZ projects are Lingrich Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s $7.2 million conventional and electric bicycle and components factory in Tai Seng Bavet SEZ and Latido Electrical Co Ltd’s $6.2 million electrical equipment and components plant in Hi-Park SEZ, which are anticipated to produce 6,250 and 690 jobs. Notably, the CDC’s example images used to explain Latido Electrical’s proposal mainly included lamps and lanterns.
An SEZ, often portrayed as a kind of commercial oasis, is a specially designated area within a jurisdiction’s borders that is subject to different – typically more lenient – legal, administrative, and economic regulations than elsewhere in the same jurisdiction. It may also include unique tax, logistical, or one-stop service arrangements intended to draw in business and investment.
The Ministry of Commerce lists addresses in mainland China for officers of eight of the nine firms. The sole officer included in the entry for Kitchen Brights, “Cheng Kwan Ming”, was given a Hong Kong address.
Speaking to The Post on June 27, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng commented that the Kingdom has over time developed into a rather desirable destination for businesses from all around the world to invest in export-oriented production.
Heng attributed this to internal factors including political stability and improved human resource development, raw material availability, investment laws, and transportation systems. On the external front, Cambodia has bilateral and multilateral trade deals as well as duty-free or otherwise preferential access to a slew of markets, he explained.
“Despite the hardly conducive political and economic climate throughout the world, Cambodia can nevertheless manage to attract a constant stream of new investment projects to launch,” Heng enthused.
He underlined the Cambodian private sector’s desire to work with local and international authorities as well as foreign investors to encourage the formation of more businesses in the Kingdom.
“[To this end,] the CCC has established four representative offices abroad to make it easier to obtain information as well as to foster investor interest in ordering goods from Cambodia or opening factories here,” he added.
The CCC representative offices were opened in Toronto (Canada), Sendai (Japan), and in Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), in that order. Additional offices have been considered for Hong Kong, South Korea, and Canada’s Quebec province – potentially in the Greater Montreal area.
Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd CEO Keo Mom contended that the local market could lure more national and international investors should domestic electricity tariffs be set at or below comparable rates in nearby countries.
Since the cost of electricity affects almost every aspect of production, low rates help ensure that goods are more competitively priced, she explained.
“Before foreign players invest in any country, among the first questions they ask are ‘Is there enough electricity there?’ and ‘Are the electricity tariffs high or low?’” according to Mom.