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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  November 16, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PST

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cambodia is considered very chinese friendly. with its chinese population reportedly exceeding 1 million.
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in the capital of phnom penh is the world's largest chinese school. enrollment totals 16,000 from kindergarten to high school. the school was originally founded for immigrant chinese to learn their native language cambodian parents have been allowing them to learn chinese. chinese signs can be seen around town.
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chinese companies dominate cambodia's garment industry. this episode follows the growing influence of the chinese community in cambodia.
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this man migrated to cambodia 16 years ago, he serves as a consultant for chinese companies here. today was the mid item harvest festival. a major chinese seasonal event. parties organized by chinese residents were held all over town. he attended a party for people from his home the venue was a chinese restaurant owned by one of them.
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he mostly gives consultation to clients about b2b problems and relying on his network of acquaintance acquaintances to several hundred employees.
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few residents find it necessary to go overseas. among meetings of chinese citizens in cambodia, the group was relatively small. a client called and invited him out. his clients can't be ignored. the hugh fan province commerce committee has rented out a high end restaurant for a party. some members came to cambodia soon after the internal conflict ended. hugh fan province is known for being where mao zedong was raised. hugh fan province was left
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behind the economic development enjoyed along the coast. some who migrated to cambodia, consider it a second home. many moved with their entire families and run local businesses. this is a day they are very proud of. their children spent their summer break studying in hugh fan province. travel costs paid for by the chinese government, and they return today. some children visited china for the first time.
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the commerce committee has grown rapidly in the past few years. the members, mostly entrepreneurs with companies in china who moved to cambodia a few years ago, saw their businesses expand rapidly. thanks to local firms taking on large scale projects and real estate development. many members work with major firms, and do things their own way when it comes to negotiation or conducting business. only a few of the companies have signed contracts. >> gao's office is located in an apartment complex with mainly cambodian tenants. he made a conscious decision to
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hire local staff instead of chinese to increase jobs for cambodians, who have few chances at administrative office jobs. gao began his consulting firm, 11 years after he immigrated to cambodia. until then, most of the businesses he attempted ended in failure. the chinese community and cambodia supported him in times of difficulty. >> his connections with people made him who he is today. while he continued failing, his connections to local people strengthened. he got to know many chinese cambodians, and decided to form a bridge between the two countries.
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>> gao believes that seek et profit alone will not be good for companies in the long run. phnom penh is enjoying a construction boom. all the buildings, covered in green nets are under construction. many of the buildings have chinese signs on them. between january and march 2016. $1.65 billion was invested in corporate construction. that's 3.6 times more than the
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previous year. this lake was once known as the capital's lake, it has since been filled in as part of the development project. in one corner of that site, a chinese real estate company has begun building a new town. >> on the compound, measuring 190,000 square meters, 18 apartment buildings and several stores will be built on an investment of $1 billion. each condo will be sold for more than $170,000. that's 170 years worth of the average annual income in cambod cambodia. parks and schools are also being
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built within the compound. the first stage of construction on the residential 3wi8dings is expected to be complete by the end of 2017. despite the schedule, half of the 1651 condos have already been sold. >> joint development of residential and commercial facilities in beijing, shanghai and other cities. shion was chosen to serve as president of the community branch. he was given this position because of his ability to turn a profit on one of the country's large shopping malls in just a year.
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>> local sales began at the end
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of 2015, chinese investors started arriving six months ago, even though the company had not tiesed in china. the homes combined with commercial facilities and facing the main street have already sold out.
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>> while many skyscrapers are being built with foreign funds, some are being suspended due to the poor management of development firms. in some cases, other foreign firms will buy them and continue construction. but some buildings are being neglected without a buyer in sight. leading to problems. it costs a lot of money to buy uncompleted buildings and continue construction on that. cambodian companies can rarely afford to do either.
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>> most companies he signs contracts with are garment firms, which are the engines of cambodia's economic growth.
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gao visited a garment factory that makes clothes for u.s. and european manufacturers, tax audits have become tougher this year, and there are many penalties. today he delivered some tax documents. >> cambodia has enjoyed strong economic growth since the 1990s. it comprises 80% of exports.
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but recently, the minimum wage has more than tripled compared to 20 years ago. due to frequent strikes, seeking higher wages. the effect is devastating for foreign firms that came to cambodia relying on cheap labor. as of september, 122 out of 640 factories, have closed down this year.
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among some foreign firms that collapsed, the management runs back to their home countries. >> gao has fallen victim as well. he helped a client who was struggling, and trusted them because they were chinese. now he can't get in touch with th them. gao is meeting with a company president. the president times his own taxes in order to reduce costs.
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>> his company was caught for failing to report some income and was penalized. he's not content with the tax offices reason or the amount
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>> a straightforward negotiation wouldn't help. gao decided to play the intermediary.
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>> in late september, an event was held for asian companies. . over 200 companies hoping to break into the cambodian market participated. the meeting is intended for companies to showcase their products and deepen cooperative ties. it was organized by a young
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chinese man who migrated to cambodia. >> he's from chongdong province. he's attempting to create a new organization that goes beyond nationalities.
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>> liu aims to create a network that connects all of asia.
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>> the chinese businessman active in cambodia are gaining considerable influence. on this day, he attended a party hosted by the royal family for volunteers and people who contribute to public works.
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gao moved to cambodia 16 years ago, in search of business opportunities. he has now begun to think of what he can do for the country. the chinese community is deeply rooted in cambodia. how does the money and culture they bring change or guide the country? as in other rapidly changing southeast asian nations, their presence grows steadily.
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hello, there. welcome to nhk "newsline." it is thursday, november 17th, 10:00 a.m. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. south korean prosecutors say the president's lawyer will speak thursday about their hope to question the leader over a continuing political scandal. park geun-hye's lawyer already declined a request for an earlier date saying he needed more time to prepare. the prosecutors asked park to voluntarily sit for an interview with them by friday. the day before they plan to indict one of her longtime friends. they believe choi soon-sil conspired to abuse the president's power and attempted to commit fraud. park has admitted to giving her access to some policy documents on state affairs.

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