Laos has licensed 423 projects invested by Vietnamese firms worth more than US$5 billion, mostly in hydropower, mining, transport, industrial tree plantation and services, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Viettel Global Investment JSC, a subsidiary of the military-run telecom Viettel Group, earned revenue of VND13 trillion (US$571.9 millio) in the first nine months of 2017, up 19% from the same period last year.
|The Unitel network of Star Telecom, a joint venture between Viettel Global and Lao Asia Telecom holds 50% of Laos's telecommunication market share.
The Unitel network of Star Telecom, a joint venture between Viettel Global and Lao Asia Telecom, significantly contributed to the results by holding 50% of the Lao telecommunication market share. Unitel has 2.8 million subscribers and is aiming for 10% growth in revenue to US$175 million in 2017.
Also, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group has invested in rubber tree and oil palm plantation in Laos. It also put Attapeu airport into operation in 2015 and has splashed out US$80 million on the construction of Nong Khang Airport in Houaphanh province.
Other large-scale projects developed by Vietnamese businesses are Xekaman 1 and 3 hydropower plant projects, power transmission lines from Xekaman to Vietnam’s Pleiku province and a US$522 million potassium chloride salt project.
The projects have played an important role in the development of both countries. The investments are expected to bring US$350-US$400 million to the Lao budget and create 40,000 jobs.
Agriculture, hydropower plant and telecommunications are typical Vietnamese investments in Laos. However, this is changing.
Laos has welcomed an increasing capital amount from Vietnamese companies in hospitality. BIM Group is one example. It opened the first five-star hotel in Laos, the Crowne Plaza Vientiane, in April 2017. The 20,000 square metre hotel has 200 rooms and is located inside the Royal Square building.
The visit to Vietnam made by General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith from December 19-21 will give a momentum for Vietnam-Laos ties in both diplomatic and economic affairs, opening new opportunities for Vietnamese investment in this market.