November 3, 2011

South Korean manufacturers eye Cambodia


South Korean investors were in Phnom Penh yesterday seeking opportunities in electronics manufacturing, an industry that experts have said could represent the next stage of growth for Cambodia’s economy.

Eleven delegates from Changwon City, South Korea, a manufacturing hub in the country, met with 70 local entrepreneurs, researching the possibility of bringing their electronics, machinery and automotive appliances businesses to the Kingdom.

Lead delegate Jung Ky-bang said Cambodia’s open and still-growing economy was ripe for investment in manufacturing.

“There aren’t trade relations between Cambodia and Changwon City yet,” he said. “We do hope that in the future, there will be more and more, especially in the machinery and electronics industries.”

Changwon City produces 41 per cent of the machinery, 13 per cent of the transport equipment and 80 per cent of the machine tools of South Korea’s gross domestic production, according to information provided by the delegation. GM Korea, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and LG Electronics are among the companies doing business there. Kim Tae-dong, a representative for Dol-Chul
Engineering, which produces machinery and automotive accessories, said he would be watching the Kingdom’s growth for opportunities to enter the market. “We hope that the engineering industry will develop in the next several years,” he said. “If we see good results, we will open a factory.”

Jung Ky-bang said the first mission was exploratory, but he expected Changwon investors would come to Cambodia “to establish more factories.”

While some experts have said the Kingdom’s manufacturing base needs to be expanded to include electronics and other mid-level production, others are worried such a jump may be too early for Cambodia.

“I still have a concern about the quality of human resources in Cambodia for the high-tech industry,” said Cambodian Economic Association president Chan Sophal, adding that the local labour force may lack the skills necessary to work these manufacturing jobs.


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