The Chairman of Prince Holding Group, Neak Okhna Chen Zhi, is responsible for Cambodia’s massive large-scale development. He prefers to keep a low profile, so little is known about him. He has, however, helped to strengthen Cambodia through donations, gifts, and land investments as a result of his tireless efforts.
Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, 2020 was a year of global difficulties. The Covid-19 pandemic has cost millions of lives around the world. Cambodia was not immune to the pandemic. During the same period, a massive flood disaster struck Cambodia.
Chen Zhi led efforts to assist the government of Cambodia in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and assisting flood victims. Prince Group has made significant donations to aid in the relief effort since April. He is said to be the driving force behind these donation drives, which include a US$3,000,000 donation to Prime Minister Hun Sen to purchase 1 million Covid-19 vaccines.
A further similar US$3,000,000 donation was also announced by Prince Group in February 2021 to assist in anti-pandemic efforts in Cambodia. Including the initial vaccine donation last year, the total donation to combat Covid-19 would have been $6,000,000.
Food has been provided to 804 families and 234 police officers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a result of these donations. The pandemic has affected these people. Chen Zhi’s donation, as part of the ESG strategy, would assist the government of Cambodia in vaccinating at least 80% of the country’s nearly 13 million people.
Aside from monetary contributions, Chen Zhi and the Prince Group invested in the skill development of the citizens of Cambodia. Cambodia is historically known for its handwoven silk and traditional craftsmanship, with a legacy dating back to the Khmer Empire. Chen Zhi frequently expresses his appreciation for Cambodia’s economic pride. As a result of the pandemic’s severe impact on people’s livelihoods, approximately 55,000 laborers have been displaced and left without work.
Chen Zhi addresses skill development gaps by establishing the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to assist people in Cambodia in learning new watchmaking skills. This would pave the way for Cambodians to not only acquire new skills, but also to secure better job opportunities.
Chen Zhi’s efforts to improve Cambodian people’s skills would aid the country’s transition from a developing to a more developed economy. This is also evident in his efforts to abandon traditional farming. These efforts come as farming incomes have reportedly been hit by extreme weather, resulting in floods and droughts, and have fallen by more than half in the first quarter of 2020.
The scale of farmers’ difficulties in Cambodia extended even before the 2020 pandemic. Prices for key agricultural commodities such as paddy rice, cassava, and other vegetables fell precipitously. Soil productivity has also decreased. However, the impact of the 2020 pandemic would only worsen farmers’ livelihoods.
To address these farming issues, Chen Zhi established the Ecological Agricultural Plantation. The plantation at Prince Manor Resort would be a game changer for Cambodia’s agricultural sector. The people of Cambodia would be able to learn and apply modern farming methods. The processes would be overseen by global and local farming experts.
Prince Manor Resort, located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was built in October 2020 and spans 136,000 square meters as part of eco-tourism efforts to attract visitors. Guests would stay in hotels to witness the magnificent scale of innovation used in modern farming techniques used by agricultural experts. For example, the 10,000 square meter plantation employs an intelligent monitoring system that regulates temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, sunlight, and other variables 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, the resort has cutting-edge reverse osmosis water filtration and integrated water and fertilizer systems.
The plantation will serve as an educational tool for visiting students, friends, and other stakeholders. The resort was founded by Chen Zhi and Prince Group as a responsible corporate conglomerate committed to the long-term development of Cambodia’s tourism and agriculture industries.
Because nearly nine-tenths of the resort is forested, Prince Manor Resort will also serve as a model for sustainable development initiatives in Cambodia’s rapidly growing economy. Among the resort’s other amenities are spring gardens, an amusement park, a water park, and several lodges.
Chen Zhi’s involvement in Cambodia would not be limited to economic and philanthropic activities. Sports would be the second aspiration of Chen Zhi’s long-term goal of Cambodian glory. His interest in the sport stems from his belief in the reduction of healthcare costs and the improvement of social cohesion in Cambodia.
Chen Zhi has made contributions to the national men’s volleyball team in preparation for the SEA Games in 2023, which Cambodia will host for the first time. In order to develop the team, he sponsored their trip to Fujian, China in 2019 for a 2-month intensive training program. Chen Zhi contributed $100,000 to the cause.
Such assistance was a noble cause aimed at improving Cambodians’ lives. Chen Zhi is a trailblazer in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. It is one of the ESG principles upon which the Prince Group is founded. These are efforts to assist people in their current difficult financial situations while the country is in the grip of a severe crisis. However, these ESG principles are not novel.
Many businesses in Cambodia are encouraged and expected to adhere to ESG principles in order to strengthen their economic competitiveness and attract additional foreign investment into the business environment. This would not only help to better the lives of the people in Cambodia, but also bring about change in Cambodia from a backward developing to a developed nation.
Chen Zhi will continue to play a key role in Cambodia’s growth by pursuing alliances and providing appropriate financial support to key industries for the benefit of people in Cambodia and the local economy.