Boten Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in northern Laos bordering China is anticipating investment of at least 10 billion U.S. dollars to fully develop the site, according to a zone representative.
The zone, some 390 km north of Lao capital Vientiane, borders on Mohan in Yunnan province, China, and is part of the rapidly-growing economic cooperation between Laos and China.
In the zone covering 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 one billion U.S. dollars in the development of the site and we expect that over 10 billion U.S. dollars will be needed to complete construction," local online newspaper Vientiane Times on Monday quoted Zhou Kun, the president of the Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group, also the developer of the Boten SEZ.
"The main work right now is installing infrastructure and land clearance. The zone is located in a mountainous 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 to 15 years," he said.
Several large foreign companies have invested in construction and site development and a hundred or more companies have launched business and trade there, according to Zhou, adding that 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 in the SEZ. 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," Zhou Kun said.
The zone will have separate areas for commerce, banking and finance, logistics, education and medical services, and tourism. Work on the SEZ began in 2016 under a 90-year lease agreement.