Implementing and strengthening one’s activity in Laos, with strong growth and increasing openness
Why invest in Laos ?
Setting up an activity in Laos is, strategically, a good choice given the countries geographical position between China, Thailand and Vietnam. Laos has now joined the positive economic growth trends being experienced in the rest of Southeast Asia.
The country’s natural resources attract many investors, mainly from China and Vietnam whose presence can clearly be felt (all three countries share a similar political regime based on a single, Marxist-Leninist party tolerating a market economy). Infrastructure between Laos, China and Vietnam is developing at a pace: a planned railway project is designed to link Kunming, in Yunnan province, to Singapore, crossing Laos.
The country is modernizing and making up for the time lost due to political and economic isolation throughout parts of the twentieth century.
Laos authorities welcome foreign investment, as they aim to become fully-fledged actors in the global economy. The reigning development model is the Chinese one, placing great emphasis on setting up special economic zones, one of which having already been created in Savannakhet. These free zones aim at boosting international trade with Laos.
Why strengthen one’s activity in Laos ?
However, a certain caution is called for, given that these changes are quite recent. In such a short time span, the features and institutions of a properly-functioning market economy have not all been implemented or strengthened.