Chinese Construction Giant Eyes Local Market

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Shanghai-based Greenland Group, one of the largest construction and real estate companies in China, is scouting the local market for investment opportunities, lured by the promise of hefty economic rewards in a sector experiencing remarkable growth.

The construction site for a new bridge being built by a Chinese company. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Zhang Yuliang, chairman and president of Greenland Group, is leading a delegation of similar companies on a tour of Cambodia.

They met Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, last week in Phnom Penh to discuss investment opportunities in the kingdom.

Mr Zhang expressed interest in putting money into Cambodia’s infrastructure to improve logistics and transportation.

Mr Chanthol, meanwhile, urged the companies to study the possibility of undertaking infrastructure projects under build-operate-transfer contracts.

According to a joint survey by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Monetary Fund released in 2011, Cambodia needs more than $13 billion in infrastructure by 2020 to continue attracting foreign investment.

The country should spend about $1.2 billion in infrastructure per year, the survey said, adding that about half should go to new projects and the other half to maintenance.

Between 2008 and 2012, Cambodia’s spending on public infrastructure amounted to about $2.5 billion, according to government data.

Va Simsorya, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said yesterday that the government was encouraging foreign companies to invest in more sophisticated infrastructure.

“We are asking them to invest in expressways, ring roads, bridges and railways for the benefit of the economy in the long run,” he said.

With financial backing from the Japanese government, Cambodia will invest $800 million to build an Automatic Gateway Transit system by the year 2023. The feasibility study is being carried out by JICA and will be completed by May next year.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.