Chinese contractors: a Priority for SIKA

Chinese contractors: a Priority for SIKA

The construction landscape in Cambodia sees massive investments coming from abroad. Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean and Malaysians are attracted by Cambodia’s fast growing market. 

As well as these, the Chinese Government Belt and Road initiative is engaging Cambodia in an economic integration which has started changing the construction industry in the kingdom. Thirty-one agreements, including soft loan deals of around USD237 million, were signed in October last year.

Major Chinese main contractors (SinoGreat Wall, CSCEC 1,2,4, SinoHydro, CITIC, etc.) have entered the Cambodian market in the past five years.  They have penetrated the biggest projects; for infrastructure (dams, roadworks, bridges, power station, Hua Xin Cement factory, Anh Hui Conch cement factory) and large private developments (The Bridge condo, NagaWorld Hotel and Casino, Dara Sakor, Gateway, etc.). Most of their teams are Chinese citizens. As a result, the construction market is actively recruiting Chinese speakers. Some young Cambodian engineers are being offered above-average salaries to start their careers if they can speak Chinese and English fluently. SIKA has answered the demand by recruiting Chinese speakers two years ago, and by adapting our brochures locally. 

Some projects funded by Chinese investment and built by Chinese contractors are reluctant to purchase any materials locally. They import, most of the time tax free, all the products from mainland China. However SIKA has been successful in advising and installing waterproofing, roofing and flooring solutions in landmark projects. 

SIKA’s strategy is based on “Building Trust” - this fruitful idea is key to dealing with Chinese developers and contractors. They expect very fast action to provide samples, prices, and availability of materials. Anticipation and coordination on site is not their strength, thus SIKA is here to help. We organise coordination meetings, site trainings, we repeat and translate information, and we work closely to ease communication. 

SIKA products are quite technical and require specialised construction know-how; Chinese habits challenge our recommendations. A simple copy and paste of specifications from other projects located in China is not adapted to the local market; the products are not available or the performances are not adapted to the environment, or the labour is not trained   

Example No.1: Bituminous torch-on membranes, such as our popular SIKA Bituseal, are commonly used everywhere. However two types of material exist: APP and SBS. SIKA promotes APP as we know it is adapted to the hot climate and also adapted to the labour force as it is easier to torch. Chinese contractors very often request SBS, thinking they want to replicate what they do in China, while it is not recommended in Cambodia.

Example No. 2: SIKA supply high-quality flooring solutions, including Poly Urethane / Cementitious flooring for industrial kitchens. A completed questionnaire is required to select the adequate system i.e. what type of equipment, what resistance to acid, what is maximum load, what type of cleaning agent they will use, how to maintain the floor etc. Very often, the technical manager on site focuses on initial product performance and not on the full life cycle of the building. 
At SIKA we build trust by advising on the right solutions for developers, architects, contractors and end-users.

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