Zhou Haijiang: Belt and Road Initiative is an all-win strategy
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing on May 14. Zhou Haijiang, board chairman and CEO of HOdo, was invited, because the HOdo-led managed Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) is a model for the Belt and Road Initiative.
Sihanoukville port once was a piece of barren and impoverished land in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province. “I could hardly express my feeling when I came here 10 years ago, since it was a mess here,” recalled Jiang Jun, manager of engineering department of SSEZ.
However, it has now grown into a prosperous field, thanks to China-Cambodia collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by China.
“The booming SSEZ is a model for China-Cambodia pragmatic cooperation,” Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out when visiting Cambodia October 2016.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, on multiple occasions, also expressed his expectation to build the special economic zone into the “Shenzhen in Cambodia”.
Located at the key juncture along the route of the Belt and Road, SSEZ is now a flagship economic zone since the win-win cooperation project has benefited local residents.
“Greatly inspired by the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi in 2013, we brought the construction of the special economic zone onto a fast lane, with the number of registered enterprises growing at a fast pace,” Cao Jianjiang, general manager of the SSEZ said, adding that the zone is now an international industrial park.
The first factory building was delivered in 2009 after conquering various hardships, and the park finally took initial shape at the end of 2012.
So far a total of 160 mills have been built on the soil of first-phased 5-square-kilometer park, and 109 textile, clothing, luggage and leather enterprises have been introduced, of which 94 are China-funded ones.
The industrial output of the zone, where 16,000 people are working, has contributed more than 50 percent to the economy of Preah Sihanouk province.
The arrival of Chinese companies has completely changed the small village of Sihanoukville port where cement buildings, electricity, and tap water didn’t exist before.