Aeon starts building Cambodia mall

Kyodo

Japanese mall operator Aeon Co. broke ground Monday on Cambodia’s first foreign-financed mall.

“We are happy to contribute to the development of the local economy because it will create more than 2,000 jobs and we want to stay deeply rooted in Cambodia and we want to be ‘loved the most’,” senior Aeon executive Motoya Okada said at the ground-breaking ceremony in the capital, Phnom Penh.

The mall is to scheduled to open in 2014, which will make Aeon the first Japanese retailer to make a foray into Cambodia.

The $200 million mall will have about 100,000 sq. meters of floor space, the same as Aeon’s malls in Japan, and will house an Aeon store and outlets from Cambodia, its neighbors and Japan.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the ground-breaking ceremony that it had been more “time-consuming” for him to convince the Japanese rather than other foreign companies to invest in Cambodia, but that more Japanese firms are investing.

He said Minebea Co. already has a factory in Cambodia making small motors, Aeon is coming and that Yazaki Corp. will be next with an automotive wire harness factory opening next week.

Hun Sen added that political stability and competitive incentives, under which foreign firms can invest 100 percent in all sectors, has proved attractive to overseas investors.

Japan statistics show only 15 companies invested in Cambodia from 1994 to 2009, with total capital of $147 million, but five Japanese companies made investments worth $35 million in 2010 and 19 investments worth $66 million in 2011.