Poipet, hosting Cambodia's main border crossing with Thailand, is located between Siem Reap and Battambang and has gained its popularity as a cross-border gambling destination.
However, government plans are now in action to turn Poipet into an industrial zone. It is believed that due to this - and the town’s convenient proximity to Thailand - investors will seek opportunities to invest in the town’s manufacturing sector.
Already, infrastructure improvements nearing completion, such as the railway link between Phnom Penh and Bangkok- via Poipet, have encouraged many people to move to the town to pursue employment opportunities. Once this railway link is completed, border trade between the two nations is expected to increase substantially.
Mr. Eric Wong, Administrator of the website SkyscraperCity Cambodia stated: “Poipet has seen remarkable development in recent times with the establishment of more factories and businesses”. Mr. Wong’s family has invested in multiple businesses in Poipet due to the town’s strategic location to Thailand, and believes that border trading between Cambodia and Thailand is already growing.
The establishment of the Sanco Poipet Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 2014 is one of the key reasons for this growth, and acts as a vital economic trading gate between Cambodia and Thailand, which is poised for future development.
Soeng Sophary, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce Cambodia commented that: “Thailand is one of the Kingdom’s main trade partners with both governments enjoying very close and amicable relations.’’ Sophary believes that due to these strong government ties, cross-border trade could increase to 15 billion USD by 2020.
Sophary continued by stating that: “The value of imports from Thailand has decreased marginally, due to the fact that more Thai investors are building factories in Cambodia, however Cambodia’s exports to Thailand have actually increased.” She also believes that the new railway will be a major catalyst for improving infrastructure and will aid both Cambodia and Thailand in reaching their trade goals.
In terms of Poipet’s real estate market; land price is consistent and not seeing any signs of remarkable increase. However, Mr Sorn Seap, CEO of Key Real Estate believes the prices are expected to rise once the railway project is finished and more industrial activity takes place.
He elaborates: “Currently land prices for residential projects in areas without construction are between 200 and 300 USD per square meter, and in construction dense areas is priced between 300 and 500 USD per square meter.”
Mr Sorn continued: “For commercial areas or downtown Poipet, prices range anywhere between 500 and 1000 USD per square meter, while the land price located along National Road 5 or close to the border can reach up to 1000 and 2 000 USD per square meter.”
Although residential property development isn’t seeing any drastic growth at present, Mr Sorn stated he has seen a lot of progress, with a handful of Borey projects in the 50,000-100,000 USD price bracket being developed. Mr Sorn is convinced there is serious potential in real estate industry in the future, due to increased employment opportunities from the existing SEZ, and the government’s industrial plans. Ultimately, more demand for labour in the city will lead to a need for residential housing.
Once the railway project is completed in 2018, it is predicated by real estate agents and experts alike that the increase of trade between Thailand and Cambodia will encourage a rapid influx of investors building factories in Poipet. This will have the flow on effects of boosting the local economy and incomes across the board.
Ultimately, this casino dense, border town is rapidly changing, and is anticipated to become one of the most attractive investment destinations in Cambodia in the years to come.