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China Becomes Laos’ Top Investor

Source: The Star

Chinese companies are currently investing in more than 900 development projects in Laos and have ploughed more than US$13bil into these ventures, making China the top investor in Laos.

The figures were reported at a meeting of Lao government officials and Chinese business operators in Vientiane on Monday, chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Khamjane Vongphosy and Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Laos, Wang Chang.

The meeting heard reports on the advantages, difficulties, and recommendations of Chinese businesses in Laos and provided a platform for the two sides to share opinions and discuss ways to improve the business environment.

Khamjane said, “The government is working to improve the investment climate so that business operations can be carried out more easily, transparently and quickly, in order to create maximum benefits for Laos and investors, especially Chinese investors.”

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“This meeting is an important milestone in efforts to improve the investment environment so that trade, investment and services provided by Chinese business operators in Laos are successful and meet the set objectives in terms of quality as well as providing more jobs for Lao people,” he added.

Chinese companies are engaged in railways, finance, electricity, agriculture and forestry, mining, improvement of policy and legislation, and other spheres.

Proposals for improvements in these fields were made for the relevant bodies to consider and identify solutions to problems encountered so that all operations are carried out in line with the regulations.

“I would like to further emphasize that the government of Laos has done a great deal to improve the investment environment to make business start-up and operations easier, for the benefit of investors and the governments and peoples of both countries,” the Minister added.

China is now Laos’ top export market as well as having the highest investment value in Laos.

Despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of trade between Laos and China continues to increase, and last year swelled by 31%.

In 2022, 30 Chinese companies owned or held concessions in operations worth US$339mil. These comprised 18 projects in the mining sector, one energy project, three consultancy projects, six projects in the industry and handicrafts sector, one public health project, and two projects in other sectors.