Cambodia’s dilapidated Infrastructure is big business

Cambodia’s under-developed infrastructure is a major hurdle that has deterred many investors and businesses. However, one particular Cambodia-Chinese joint venture sees the dilapidation as a golden opportunity. 

Cambodia-based WorldBridge Land (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. and Sino Great Wall International Engineering Co., Ltd (SGW) from China have inked a joint venture agreement with a vision to transform the nation’s infrastructure challenges into big business opportunities.  The consortium is structured with the Chinese side owning 60 percent and the Cambodian side 40 percent.  

At signing of the JV MoU in Phnom Penh in early August, the two firms announced their intention to work closely with the Cambodian government on various public developments that will help enhance the nation’s public infrastructure condition. The projects they are targeting include bridges, roads, and buildings, and in particular those to be undertaken via financial support from China.   

Chaired by Cambodian property tycoon Oknha Sear Rithy, WorldBridge Land is a subsidiary among other 30 firms in his conglomerate. The firm is the developer behind three massive condominium projects in Phnom Penh including The Bridge, The Peak and The Palms. The firm has also expanded its business lines into some ASEAN markets.

Incepted in 2001 and based in Beijing, SGW provides engineering contractor services in China and abroad. The giant contractor’s main projects are hotels, residential developments and public buildings.

According to SGW’s press release issued before the MoU signing, the company is the main contractor for WorldBridge’s two ongoing projects, The Bridge, and The Peak. The Bridge is a 45-storey condominium building set to open for businesses in early 2018. The Peak is a 55-storey building to be launched soon with completion scheduled in 2020. SGW also won a USD2.7 billion contract to build the 133-storey Thai Boon Roong Twin Tower Trade Center in Phnom Penh, which will be one of the world’s tallest buildings.      

“It is a great honour for WorldBridge Land to collaborate with Sino Great Wall as they have years of experience in construction works,” said Oknha Sear Rithy, adding that the country needs to build and expand its infrastructure facilities to fulfil the needs of the people and business.

“I firmly believe that the signing of this MoU is paves the way for the two firms to step into a joint venture in the near future, it is not just a normal MoU.” he explained.

Liang Rong, vice-chairman of SGW said that, “We definitely have enough means and resources to take on large-scale projects in Cambodia by introducing our advanced technology.”

In Cambodia, about 70 percent of roads and bridges have been funded by China, with combined loans of about USD2 billion, according to a report from Ministry of Public Works and Transport, cited in the Cambodia Daily on 24 July.

The nation has about 11,000 km of national roads and 4,407 km of provincial roads. Over 40 percent of the roads are asphalt to date, according to the report.

During an inspection of the expansion work for National Road No.2 in early August, H.E. Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport said that Cambodia spends about USD200 million a year just for maintenance and repair works for the nation’s road network.

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