Former Cambodian war zone transformed into industrial hub

Built by Japanese Toyota Tsusho, Techno Park Poipet in Sanco Poipet special economic zone on Cambodia's western border with Thailand, opened on Dec 8 with Japanese Sanko Electronics, Sumitronics, Mabuchi, Exedy, and Thai CH Industry as tenants leasing factories to shift labor-intensive processes from plants in Thailand.

As part of the Mekong region's southern economic corridor running from Vietnam to Cambodia and Thailand, Poipet is well positioned as a secondary production hub. It takes only two to five hours to drive from Thailand's eastern industrial areas.

Cambodia's factory wages are 60% of those in Thailand, though it will be raised 11% to $170 starting next year, but is still cheaper. Furthermore, tariffs in Cambodia will be abolished in 2018 as the ASEAN integrates its economy.

A new, truck-only customs gate is scheduled to open on the border entering Thailand near to the current gate. A cross-border rail line linking Phnom Penh with Bangkok is due to begin operations as soon as 2018 after a 1.5km link through Poipet is built.

(Nikkei Asian Review)