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Laos becomes Vietnam’s top outbound investment destination

Laos has become the top destination for outbound investment from Vietnam as a result of the enhanced special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
Vietnamese companies invested almost US$150 million in 28 projects in 16 countries and territories from January to March, according to a Vietnam News report.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency was quoted in Vietnam News as saying that among them, Laos attracted the lion’s share of Vietnamese investments, with 53.5 percent. This was followed by Cambodia (17.3 percent), Cuba (13.3 percent), and Australia (8 percent).
Director General of Laos’ Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Investment Promotion Department, Mr Manothong Vongsay, told Vientiane Times on Monday that investment from Vietnam in Laos had recently diversified into more sectors.
“Many Vietnamese entrepreneurs are now investing in the service sector including hotels and banking,” Mr Manothong said.
BIM Group is one example. It opened the Crowne Plaza Vientiane in April 2017 which is considered one of over 400 hotels under the umbrella of the international five-star hotel network.
Crowne Plaza Vientiane is the first internationally branded upscale hotel in Laos offering quality accommodation and a comprehensive range of facilities to meet the needs of business and leisure travellers.
Previously, Vietnamese entrepreneurs would pump their investment capital into the resource sector, such as mining, hydropower and agriculture, as well as construction.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) has invested in rubber tree and oil palm plantations in Laos but many of its projects have been sold to other businesses.
Other large-scale projects undertaken by Vietnamese firms are the Xekaman 1 and Xekaman 3 hydro plants, power transmission lines from Xekaman to Vietnam, and a US$522 million potassium chloride salt project.
Mr Manothong said mining, hydropower and agriculture remained the key interests of Vietnamese investors.
“We are encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in the agricultural processing industry, tourism, hydropower and other service sectors,” he said.
As of March last year, Vietnamese businesses had invested in 270 projects with the value of investment amounting to over US$5.12 billion.
However, an official in charge at the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment told Vientiane Times the total value of Vietnamese investment in Laos stood at US$3.7 billion. The official assumed that the rest was also destined for investment in Laos.
The majority of Vietnamese investment has gone into agro-forestry-fishery, telecommunications, mining, and healthcare services.
Vietnam is the third largest foreign investor in Laos after China and Thailand.
Economists say the close proximity of Laos is one of the main reasons for Vietnamese investors wanting to do business here.
Vietnamese investment has contributed to the growth of the Lao economy and has been generating job opportunities in the country in recent decades.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update
April 04,

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