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The bustle of casinos by the Chinese in Sihanoukville

Massive Chinese Investment in Cambodia


According to the Cambodian government, the number of Chinese living in Cambodia doubled in 2018 to 210,000. In 2017, there were only 100,000.  The most affected city is Sihanoukville, also known as "Kampong Som". Located in the south of Cambodia, the city now numbers more than 78,000 Chinese.   


Chinese businessmen invest massively, transforming the landscape in a spectacular way with the construction of casinos, buildings, hotels and luxury complexes. The development is very fast and the work takes place day and night.


China is, in fact, the largest investor and provider of development assistance in Cambodia. Especially since the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, is determined to encourage investment by Chinese companies in the country. The arrival of Chinese businessmen in Sihanoukville is partly due to the new China-Cambodia free economic zone. 


 Sihanoukville is nicknamed "little Macau" to refer to the city of Macau, on the south coast of China, itself nicknamed "Las Vegas of Asia" because of its many casinos and giant shopping centers. Today, Sihanoukville has about 40 casinos open 24 hours a day. There were only 15 in 2015. It should be noted that in most Asian countries, casinos are prohibited or reserved exclusively for foreigners.


The problem resulting from these Chinese investments is the loss of opportunities for Cambodians due to rising prices. Only Cambodian owners can take advantage of this price increase and thus increase their rental rent. 


However, the new buildings offer employment opportunities for Cambodians with decent wages, although most of the workers are Chinese. 

In addition, tensions between communities and crime linked to this Chinese wave are increasing in the city.

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