PHNOM PENH, Nov. 18 (FN) -- The Chinese-operated Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), the biggest SEZ in Cambodia, is planning to open 300 factories by 2020, providing up to 100,000 extra jobs, local media reported on Friday.

The zone in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province has built 148 factories, of which 88 are up and running, SSEZ's president Jack Chen said. These were providing 16,000 local jobs.

"Under our industrial development strategy, we plan to have 300 industrial factories by 2020 that can provide more jobs to local people and create tax revenue for the Cambodian government," Chen was quoted as saying by the Khmer Times.

Factories in the zone mainly produce textiles for the European Union and the United States. Two of the companies were Cambodian and the others were foreign.

The zone has been working to attract investors from China, especially in light manufacturing industries, he said, adding that the zone is currently an industrial factory hub and would develop into the country's high-end technology hub.

Preah Sihanouk provincial labor director Yov Khemera welcomed the plan to increase the number of factories.

"The strategy to attract investment to the zone will push demand for labor high, so the big investment will generate jobs for local workers more and more," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Preah Sihanouk province, with its deep-water port, rail connection and airport, has recently seen investment by Chinese enterprise Hodo Group and Cambodia International Investment Development Group on 11 hectares of land.

In June, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen inaugurated the 100th factory in the zone and said he considered the zone as a significant achievement.