Sino-Cambodian joint venture changes lives for the better

By LIN SHUJUAN in Sihanoukville, Cambodia | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-07-04 07:18
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The Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. LI YIFANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Changes to the landscape took place rapidly after the two countries agreed to develop the area, Xiao added.

In just a few years, it was transformed into a modern industrial park, while Bet Trang, the fishing village, was developed into a bustling town complete with a full range of amenities, including gas stations, telecommunication stores, barbershops, wet markets and restaurants.

Xiao said that every time he visits the zone, he sees new facilities. A one-stop service center was set up in 2010, a sewage treatment plant in 2015, a power plant in 2017, and a university in 2019. On his latest trip, Xiao learned that a 189-km highway connecting Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, and Sihanoukville was completed last year.

The highway, which opened to traffic in October, was built with investment from Chinese companies. It reduces the journey time between the two cities to just two hours.

"The SSEZ basically looks no different from any modern industrial park in China. If there is a slight difference, it is simply because the SSEZ is newer, or even bigger," Xiao said.

Cao Jianjiang, general manager of SSEZ Co, which oversees development in the zone, said facilities have constantly been upgraded and new amenities added to attract more international businesses.

In addition to helping companies situated within it, the zone has paid special attention to catering to workers' needs.

Over the years, the industrial park has introduced a health clinic, a law consultancy center and two educational institutions — the Preah Sihanouk Cambodia-China Friendship Polytechnic Institute and the Sihanoukville Institute of Business and Technology, Cao said.

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