Some Interesting Information On The Chinese In Cambodia

This comes straight from Wikipedia. It shows the tremendous success of the Chinese in Cambodia. It seems like everywhere the Chinese live, they thrive.

Willmot had estimated that 90% of the Chinese in Cambodia were involved in commerce in 1963. Today, an estimated 60% are urban dwellers engaged mainly in commerce, with most of the rural population working as shopkeepers, processors of food products (such as rice, palm sugar, fruit, and fish), and moneylenders. Those in Kampot Province and parts of Kaoh Kong Province cultivate black pepper and fruit (especially rambutans, durians, and coconuts). Additionally, some rural Chinese Cambodians are engaged in salt water fishing. In the 19th century, French colonials allowed Chinese-run businesses to flourish. William Willmott, a mid-century expert on Chinese communities, claimed the ethnic Chinese controlled 92 percent of Cambodian commerce in the mid-20th century. They traded in urban areas and worked as shopkeepers, moneylenders and traditional healers in rural areas, while Chinese farmers controlled Cambodia’s lucrative Kampot pepper industry. Most Chinese Cambodian moneylenders wield considerable economic power over the ethnic Khmer peasants through usury. Studies in the 1950s revealed that Chinese shopkeepers in Cambodia would sell to peasants on credit at interest rates of 10-20% a month. This might have been the reason why seventy-five percent of the peasants in Cambodia were in debt in 1952, according to the Australian Colonial Credit Office. There seemed to be little distinction between Chinese and Sino-Khmer (offspring of mixed Chinese and Khmer descent) in the moneylending and shopkeeping enterprises. Chinese Cambodian entrepreneurs are also estimated to control 70% of the industrial investment and are actively engaged in trading, construction, small-scale manufacturing, and food processing.

Of particular note is China’s economic role in the country, which encouraged Sino-Khmer businessmen to reestablish their past business which were once suppressed by the Khmer Rouge. Modern Cambodian economy is highly dependent on Sino-Khmer companies who controlled a large stake in the country’s economy, and their support is enhanced by the large presence of lawmakers who are of at least part-Chinese ancestry themselves. The position of the Chinese minority has undergone a dramatic turn for the better and the Chinese seem to have regained much of their previous economic clout. For various reasons, including the growing economic collaboration between China and Cambodia and the huge investments being made by Chinese companies, the Chinese community has seen its numbers expand dramatically in the 2000s (decade).


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