China's Gainxu Taixu company and Cambodia International Economic Cooperation Investment announced the opening of the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone Saturday, which could employ as many as 80,000 workers.
The investment was seen as a significant step to reduce widespread unemployment and boost economic growth in Cambodia.
"One hundred percent of the products from this special economic zone will have to be exported," Prime Minister Hun Sen said during an opening ceremony. "I am convinced that the Cambodian economy will rise, finally employing more than 80,000 workers, as China has a lot of investments. And with the export, our economic value is high and increasing."
Not all are optimistic Chinese investment will benefit Cambodia in the long run.
"What China cares most about is land, which can be rented or sold to investors from other countries, and such a thing is not going to help our economy," said opposition lawmaker Son Chhay. "Thus, the government has to encourage investment from other countries, with honest investment and that have developed industry, such as Japan or the US."