Boten SEZ eyeing investment of over US$11 billion

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Luang Namtha province is anticipating investment of at least US$10 billion to fully develop the site, according to a zone representative.

The zone borders on Bohan in Yunnan province, China, and is part of the rapidly-growing economic cooperation between Laos and China.

In 2016 the zone covered 16.4 sq km but is now being extended to over 700 hectares. A full range of utilities is being installed along with a six-lane highway and other infrastructure.

“So far we have invested over US$1 billion in the development of the site and we expect that over US$10 billion will be needed to complete construction,” said the president of the Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group Stock, Mr Zhou Kun.

“The main work right now is installing infrastructure and land clearance. The zone is located in a moun-tainous area so we have to level the ground in order to construct buildings. Land clearance is now 80 percent complete and we expect the zone to be fully developed in the next 10 to15 years,” he added.

Several large foreign companies have invested in construction and site development and a hundred or more companies have launched business and trade here.

There is no limit to the number of companies and projects that can invest in the zone. Investors from Laos and around the world are welcome to set up business in Boten.

When complete, over 300,000 people are expected to work and live on site. This will be of particular benefit to people living in northern Laos who have jobs within the zone.

“The Boten SEZ will augment the Lao government’s revenue collection due to the taxes paid by companies and investors. It will also serve to improve infrastructure in northern Laos,” Mr Zhou Kun said.

The zone will have separate areas for commerce, banking and finance, logistics, education and medical services, and tourism.

The Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group Stock obtained funding from the Hong Kong Fuk Hing Travel Entertainment Group Ltd. Work on the SEZ began in 2016 under a 90-year lease agreement.