In 2019 the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the green light ‘Creatanium Blockchain Smart City’. This project will be located in the 300-hectare Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kong Pisei, Kampong Speu. According to a company strategist, the area is an excellent site for a smart city with “a population and associated business activities. It is ideal to implement a suite of blockchain solutions, including property management, smart contracts and e-payments”.

A big part of the SEZ would be allocated to different aspects of the project. “One-fifth of the land has been allocated to PLMP Fintech for the construction and management of a residential cluster with condominium, semi-detached, detached and terrace units for the SEZ’s population…”. The area will also include shophouses and a shopping mall to host the linked service industry. The developers said they have plans to later expand it to the rest of the SEZ. It is already eyeing an expansion of its own Creatanium blockchain beyond the residential and commercial area to the rest of the SEZ achieved through a commodities trading platform in Singapore successfully developed for Indonesia.

Local stakeholders welcomed the project, saying projects like this are critical to Cambodia’s development. “Importing e-solutions and implementing technology across the nation is crucial to its long-term socio-economic health, assuming, of course, that it is run parallel with training and opportunities for locals,” Paul Ellender, former manager of property firm Freer Properties (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said. “My fear is that this new wave of initiatives may bypass the Khmer community,” he added.

No timeframe has been set however a number of small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs have scouted the site. It is believed Chinese investors may also be involved as a “Sino-Cambodian cooperation project” within the Belt and Road Initiative. A typical smart city uses blockchain technology to run systems related to road traffic, public transportation, the electric grid, and waterworks, among others. This advanced concept of urban development is gaining popularity throughout Asia. In July 2019, Vietnam and Cambodia discussed plans to cooperate in smart city development. Since 2016, South Korea has been pushing to build a smart city in Cambodia.