Friday, September 16, 2011

Cambodia eyes Chinese investment to boost economy

Sept 16, 2011

BEIJING -- Relations between China and Cambodia have grown closer in recent years, with Beijing investing billions of dollars in the southeast Asian nation to help boost its economy, an official said Friday.

China has become Cambodia's biggest source of foreign direct investment, said Mao Tianyu, division chief of the International Department of the Ministry of Commerce.

Chinese companies invested 395 million U.S. dollars in non-financial sectors in Cambodia last year, an increase of 83 percent year-on-year. By the end of July 2011, China's outbound direct investment in non-financial sectors in Cambodia amounted to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, Mao said.

Cambodia's economy has been growing rapidly but is still weak compared with other countries in the region.

Its gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5.9 percent year-on-year to reach 11.44 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, a growth rate slower than Thailand's 7.8-percent increase and also below the 6.8-percent rise seen in Vietnam, said Xu Ningning, executive vice secretary-general of the China-ASEAN Business Council.

Cambodia's per capita GDP stood at 792 U.S. dollars last year with an annual inflation rate of 3.1 percent.

Most rural households in Cambodia depend on agriculture and related sub-sectors. Agriculture, apparel, real estate and tourism are the country's four pillar industries.

As a country endeavoring to integrate itself into the global economy, Cambodia has shown great enthusiasm for foreign investment.

The country approved 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment during the first seven months of this year, up 301 percent from last year, Xu said.

Khek Caimealy Sysoda, Cambodia's ambassador to China, said she hopes to see more Chinese investment in her home country.

"Cambodia enjoys political and macro-economic stability as well as a transparent legal framework. It has a lot of potential for investment," she said.

Editor: Yang Lina

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