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Chinese firm plans EV plant in K Kong: administration

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Koh Kong provincial governor Mithona Phouthorng (in purple) holds a meeting with Chinese investors over plans for an electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant in the coastal province, on October 22. KOH KONG PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

Chinese firm plans EV plant in K Kong: administration

A company identified as “China Matrix Technology Group-Horche Intelligent Automobile” (“CMTGHIA”) plans to set up an electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant in Koh Kong province to serve the domestic market, according to the provincial administration, as the central government prepares an Automotive and Electronics Sector Roadmap and supporting policy for EV development.

On October 22, Koh Kong provincial governor Mithona Phouthorng virtually met with representatives from Chinese investment companies, including CMTGHIA boss Liu Chuanfu, to discuss the investment potential of the Cambodian industrial technology scene, as well as CMTGHIA’s plans for an EV plant in the coastal province, the administration said in a statement on the same day.

Phouthorng welcomed CMTGHIA’s plans, and voiced hope that members of the delegation and the provincial administration “can better understand each other and build cooperative relations and create investment opportunities in Koh Kong province in the field of EV technologies”, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the government is pressing ahead with at least four of the 20 priority initiatives outlined in the draft Automotive and Electronics Sector Roadmap, in a bid to promote economic diversification with a focus on consistency with regional and global economic dynamics.

This is according to a statement issued by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) – the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments – in conjunction with a virtual meeting of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Economic and Financial Policy Committee (EFPC) earlier this month.

The statement identified the initiatives as: establishing the Automotive and Electronics Sector Development Advisory Council; determining locations for special economic zones that cater specifically to the automotive and electronics industry; entering partnerships with the private sector to upskill workers; and improving logistics-related procedures.

Of note, the advisory council – which is under the CDC – was formally established on May 3 through endorsement by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and had its first meeting on August 2, according to the CDC.

The CDC disclosed that the draft roadmap contains an overview of the development of the automotive and electronics sector, key barriers and challenges, and priority and supporting measures, including relevant institutional implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Earlier this year, the council revealed that the document seeks to raise automotive and electronics exports past $2 billion and create more than 22,000 new jobs over the next five years.

On a related note, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has said that the state aims to bring up the share of electric cars and motorcycles on the road to 40 and 70 per cent, respectively, in Cambodia by 2050, in line with the “Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality by 2050” and other government plans.

In a previous interview with The Post, Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF) president Tan Monivann commented that the government is currently implementing some of the provisions of the “urgently needed” roadmap, which he said is designed to improve management of vehicles and electronics use-efficiency, and provide a major boost for environmental protection, among other things.

He stressed that Cambodia still has plenty of shortcomings that prevent it from fully capitalising on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those in the human resources domain, a lack of dedicated locations for investment projects, and a shortage of enterprises that use state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

“Apportioning some of the priorities for early implementation is necessary, we have to recognise that Cambodia nowadays is bereft of many things, including skilled labour, sites, or clusters that can readily accommodate investment projects in electric vehicles or electronics,” Monivann said.

The Koh Kong Provincial Administration’s October 22 statement revealed that, as of 2021, there were seven industrial-scale enterprises in the province employing 10,843 workers, manufacturing vehicles, electronics and wire components, sportswear, garments and other textile-related items. Additionally, there were 755 handicraft and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Koh Kong province also has Dara Sakor International Airport in the Dara Sakor resort area, developed by Union Development Group Co Ltd, it said, adding that a deep-sea port, new waterway shipping routes and other important infrastructure are underway.

It noted that the province’s Cham Yeam International Checkpoint at the Cambodia-Thailand border is an important crossing for agricultural goods, investment and a variety of other commercial activities.

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