Chinese businessman strives to build brands in Cambodia

Updated: 2015-09-20 20:20


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Chinese businessman strives to build brands in Cambodia

Xu Yanping, left, chairman of the China-Cambodia Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, with Cambodian deputy Prime Minister Yan Caili in November 2014. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Like many Cambodians of Chinese descent, Zeng Yaoyi knew he would move to the west one day. Decades ago, his grandparents arrived in Cambodia from Chaozhou, south China's Guangdong province. One of his sisters has already moved to Germany and another to the US. His mother is also applying to emigrate to the US. The 29-year-old too was planning to go to the US.

In 2013, after retiring from the Cambodian national football team, Zeng got a job as driver for Xu Yanping, chairman of the China-Cambodia Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, which had been established in Phnom Penh. He didn't expect that his life path would change.

Architectural major graduate Chen Jinshui worked in a hospital in Phnom Penh. The 25-year-old Chinese-Cambodian heard of the newly-established special economic zone and worked there as an architect for three months. He wanted to experience the zone and see if it had development prospects.

The special economic zone is a national-level project approved by the Cambodian government. Different from other industrial zones, it is an integration of industry and city. As a combination of industrial production, living facilities, supporting transportation and service industry, it will accommodate 250,000 to 350,000 people.

The special economic zone's chairman Xu owns Alpstream Group, a real estate developer based in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi province. After China began to regulate the real estate industry in late 2011, he started to develop an overseas market and went to Cambodia. Land there can be traded between individuals and procedures are relatively simple. He planned to do real estate business, buying land, building houses, selling or leasing them. However, due to inadequate policies and regulations, the market is chaotic. Foreign companies face many obstacles and traps, often feeling isolated as they are unfamiliar with local policies, laws, regulations and culture.

After China's strategic conception of building the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", known as the "One Belt and One Road" initiative, was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, he saw an opportunity. Xi suggested that countries along the One Belt and One Road should strengthen connections in five ways - policy, trade, transportation, currency and people. If Chinese and foreign governments reach agreements on policy, trade, transportation and currency, it will be a lot easier for Chinese companies to do business, Xu thought.

He dropped his real estate plan and decided to set up a platform for Chinese companies moving into Cambodia. He bought 25 square kilometers of land in Phnom Penh and established the special economic zone. The zone provides one-stop services to Chinese companies, letting them become established in the country in a fast and easy way. The zone communicates with Cambodian departments and institutions for investment and operation related issues and provide solutions to registered companies registered.

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