Chinese company “Jiangsu General Science Technology Co Ltd” has invested nearly $300 million to build the largest tyre factory in the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), according to Beijing’s embassy in Phnom Penh.
With capital investment of about $300 million, the project will be the largest within the special economic zone (SEZ) and is expected to create a total of 1,600 local jobs after construction on the facility is complete.
A statement from the Chinese embassy said that the tyre factory project has been “progressing smoothly”.
Chen Jiangang, CEO of industrial park developer and operator Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone Co Ltd, which oversees development of the SSEZ, pledged to continue improving the area’s infrastructure to be able to support large-scale enterprises such as the tyre factory to run seamlessly.
He highlighted that a thermal power station is being built in the area, “providing a guarantee for heavy enterprises to be able to set up there”, and added that the first phase of the industrial park is complete, and construction of the city support area and the second phase of the zone is underway.
Chen said that there are currently 170 enterprises set up in the area, which he predicted would facilitate employment for some 30,000 locals. And “when construction on the SEZ is completed, it is expected that the number of enterprises will increase to 300, creating jobs for 80,000 to 100,000 people”, he said.
Him Aun, head of the General Directorate of Rubber at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post that with more tyre factories, the demand for natural rubber latex, which is one of Cambodia’s key commodities, will increase.
He said that officials from the department had recently visited a tyre factory in Svay Rieng province to study the potential demand for rubber for processing at such factories, including those to be built in the SSEZ.
The team concluded that the Svay Rieng factory has “high demand” for rubber, Aun said, but had not processed natural rubber from Cambodia, and was completely reliant on imports of the commodity.
“However, we will continue to work together to encourage factories to buy natural rubber from local farmers to expand the market,” he said. “We hope to explore cooperation with the tyre factory in Sihanoukville to reduce the export of rubber raw materials, and increase the export of finished products.”
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak called the tyre factory project a “strong and long-term” project that would boost Cambodia’s economic growth.
“Once the company is fully operational, there will definitely be a demand for manpower that will directly help the Cambodian economy,” he said.
The tyre factory to be built by Jiangsu General Science Technology may not be the first in the SSEZ. In January, the Council for the Development of Cambodia announced that it had approved a proposal by General Intelligence (Cambodia) Co Ltd to establish a tyre factory in the SEZ worth $297 million that is also expected to generate 1,600 jobs.