A Tale of Two Cities- Shenzen and Sihanoukville

Phnom Penh: In the past, a group of Chinese investors has announced that it will develop Sihanoukville province, just like Shenzhen city. Government officials seem to be satisfied with the announcement, but there is a lot of dissatisfaction with public opinion. However, if it is possible that Sihanoukville can develop like Shenzhen, then it is good for Cambodia as a whole.

According to Chinese a tourist guide, Shenzhen is a model city of China in the province of Guangdong. The city was poor in the past, and no one wanted to live and trade there.

“In the past, people in Shenzhen did not want to live in the area, they often crossed the border to Hong Kong,” she said. “To work or do business. But Hong Kong was still under British control. Some swam from Shenzhen to Hong Kong to live there, but there were guards at Hong Kong’s borders shooting them. But some citizens crossed to Hong Kong successfully. 

She said that Hong Kong had been previously been discriminating against people from Shenzhen, because of its non-prosperous status with many poor people. However, after Chinese leaders committed to showing Shenzhen as a model for development in China, special economic zones and ports were built. The city quickly became one of the most spectacular and modern cities in China.

In fact, one of the richest men in the world, Li Qing also initiated his business in Shenzhen. Currently, people no longer wants to go to Hong Kong like before, but they go to Hong Kong and return home, often commuting between both cities.

The guide added that after Shenzen had developed so rapidly, the value of the city’s property increased dramatically. Abandoned fields become five-star hotels, landowners in Shenzhen became a billionaires. Shenzhen is now considered as one of China’s most prosperous four cities in four cities in China, along with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

When the city began to develop, Shenzhen had only 30,000 people, but now there are up to 16 million people, increasing to 20 million with tourists and visitors.

The infrastructure in Shenzhen has grown everywhere, such as streets, hotels and public places,. everywhere. 

Turning to Cambodia, past Chinese investors have determined that they will develop Sihanoukville city just like the city of Shenzhen, and if that development is just half of Shenzhen now, Sihanoukville will be the most developed province in Cambodia and it will spread to surrounding areas such as Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong.

Through the government’s industrial development policy, which put Sihanoukville as an economic and industrial zone, the province has seen rapid development activities due to favorable infrastructure such as SEZ, which is easy to transport from due to its stablity. The only deep water port and international airport expansion help transport.

These investments and development have provided a lot of benefits to the national society, such as creating jobs for citizens, reducing migration and providing state tax revenue, along with a growing infrastructure. 

Not only that, the price of land in the province has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, the province is facing many problems such as environmental issues, security and so on. But, according to senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the provincial leader, have stated that “the provincial situation is still manageable”. 


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