The Lao government has approved two new special economic zones in Luang Namtha and Bo Keo provinces to be invested and managed by Chinese private companies, while the Savan-Seno Special economic zone remains under the government's mangement.
Mr. Boviengkham Vongdala, spokesperson for the Lao government, announced that his government recently granted approval for the establishment of two more special economic zones in the Boten checkpoint of Luang Namtha province and the Tonpheung district of Bo Keo province.
Unlike the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone whose ownership and management are retained by the Lao government, these two new special economic zones will be invested and managed by a group of Chinese private companies. Development of these two special economic zones has already started. Particularly in Boten, investors have already built hotels, resorts, golf courts, a trade center, warehouses, transportation stations, an entertainment center, and a bus or minivan depot under the project named "Boten Denkham" or "Golden Land of Boten".
The special economic zone in Bo Keo's Tonpheung district is being developed by China's Dokngiukham group, which has already built hotels, resorts, a comprehensive entertainment and Casino center. And these businesses have already started to provide services to customers since this past September.
Whether it's the Boten Denkham project or the Golden Triangle special economic zone project, the Chinese investors who estimate that they will have to invest more than $4 billion in both projects, share the same goal of developing these two special economic zones to facilitate and accomodate the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) between China and ASEAN, which will start in 2010.
As for the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone, the Lao government has had to invite foreign companies to take part in developing it because of budget shortages, with the aim to attract more and more foreign investment in the area of manufacturing goods for export.
The Lao government also hopes that the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone will become a key factor contributing to a higher GDP for Savannakhet province and higher income for its population. Authorities anticipate the province will experience an increase of 13% in gross domestic products during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.