The Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ), listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), achieved a record export value of $1.621 billion in 2023, marking an important milestone for the zone’s growth, it said in a recent filing.

Founded in 2006 before local conglomerate Royal Group became its largest shareholder in December 2021, the PPSEZ’s export value doubled from $316 million in 2016 to $683 million in 2021. The figure then doubled again to $1.346 billion in 2022 and reached an unprecedented $1.621 billion in 2023.

“This significant development and growth is also evidenced in the export value of the zone. We are more than proud to contribute about 7% to the total export value of the country,” stated PPSEZ CEO Hiroshi Uematsu.

“The dramatic increase occurred despite the horrific Covid-19 situation, thanks to the expansion and steady growth of productions of all investors, especially in the electrical and electronics sector and automobile parts sector,” he added.

Ky Sereyvath, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that the PPSEZ’s growth reflects the country’s strong domestic production last year, despite some impact from global economic turmoil. 

“We have observed that numerous factories are opening within SEZs, as the zones typically offer convenient services for export and import procedures. The rise in exports from the PPSEZ highlights its success in attracting a multitude of investors to establish factories there,” he said.

According to the zone’s data, export value from the electrical and electronics sector rose by 71% from $234 million in 2019 to $399 million in 2023. The automobile parts industry saw an even more significant increase of 156%, from $113 million in 2019 to $289 million in 2023.

Uematsu noted that over the past nearly 18 years, the zone has attracted 86 manufacturing companies from 14 nations, employing 43,800 Cambodian people and 720 foreign expats in high value-added industries. 

“As the zone developer, this number gives us even more energy to provide the best SEZ for both Cambodian and international financers for the betterment of investor’s businesses, the country’s economy and the contribution to its industrialisation,” he added.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), the Kingdom’s exports exceeded $22.65 billion in 2023, a 1.8% increase from $22.25 billion in 2022. Imports totalled $24.18 billion, reflecting a 5% decrease from $25.46 billion year-on-year. 

The country’s total trade value amounted to $46.83 billion in 2023, a slight decrease of 1.9% from $47.71 billion in 2022. The trade deficit stood at approximately $1.54 billion for 2023, significantly reduced from the $3.21 billion recorded in the previous year. 

Major trading partners of the country include China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Germany, as per the GDCE.